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Environment & Energy Report

Pandemic Creates Germany-Sized Drop in Global Consumption

July 9, 2020, 6:00 PM

The amount of global consumption lost in the pandemic roughly equals the size of the German economy, but the slump also led to the biggest ever drop in greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s according to a University of Sydney-led study that claims to be the first to quantify the world’s economic losses and environmental gains from Covid-19. It reflects the scale of the pandemic’s impact as it grounded planes, disrupted supplies and forced stores to close.

Supply Chain Effects

Supply chain effects; line thickness represents trade volume lost as a result of COVID-19
University of Sydney

Using live data collected until May 22, the report came up with some staggering statistics. Global consumption dropped by $3.8 trillion and 147 million jobs were lost -- 4.2% of the global workforce. Some $2.1 trillion in income, wages and salaries evaporated.

The U.S. and mainland China have been the two most directly affected economies, with air transport and tourism among the hardest-hit industries. At the same time, the steepest drop in greenhouse gas emissions since the burning of fossil fuels began hundreds of years ago lowered deaths from air pollution.

“The contrast between the socio-economic and the environmental variables reveals the dilemma” in the global system, said Arunima Malik from the University of Sydney Business School.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Piotr Skolimowski in Frankfurt at pskolimowski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Paul Gordon at pgordon6@bloomberg.net

Brian Swint, Lucy Meakin

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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