Reductions in traffic and industry have lowered nitrogen dioxide levels—offering an accidental glimpse into what a low-carbon future might look like.
The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down industrial activity and temporarily slashing air pollution levels around the world, satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows.
One expert said the sudden shift represented the “largest-scale experiment ever,” in terms of the reduction of industrial emissions.
Readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite show that over the past six weeks, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year.
Nitrogen dioxide is produced from car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
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