The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually every industry, significantly diminishing carbon dioxide generation. According to The Verge, global emissions are similar to those of 2006, meaning that we're producing 17 percent less CO2 than we did in 2019. However, this doesn't mean the planet is somehow less polluted. In fact, it's more polluted than ever.
Engadget reports that we now have more CO2 in our atmosphere, comparing this month to the month of June in previous years, than we ever have before, at 417 parts per million (ppm). This is an increase of 2 ppms since last May, in keeping with trends. It's concerning that a global shutdown doesn't decrease atmospheric CO2, but it isn't particularly surprising: We haven't been taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, we've just been putting less in. So how do we achieve a world with less carbon dioxide?
Some scientists are looking into carbon capture, which, according to the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, can actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere instead of simply aiming to produce less. Another idea is to limit agriculture by allowing more people to access protein through eating insects. While you might be crinkling up your nose at the thought of eating a cricket, Audubon states that, when compared with cows, crickets are 12 times more efficient at producing food. They need less food, water, and land, and they create significantly less carbon dioxide. Innovative ideas like these are especially important right now, because it's clear that even when the world shelters in place, atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise.