Unexpectedly Intriguing!
16 March 2021

The global economy has shrunk by roughly $3.0 trillion with the return of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns since entering into a double dip recession in December 2020.

We base that estimate on the change in the trailing twelve month average rate at which carbon dioxide is accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere, which has fallen by 0.9 parts per million since peaking in the rebound following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in November 2020. The following shows the recent decline along with the monthly history of this measure from January 1960 through February 2021.

Trailing Twelve Month Average of Year-Over-Year Change in Parts per Million of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, January 1960 - February 2021

Changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide are directly related to human activities, which in turn are correlated with the Earth's GDP.

Since December 2019, we estimate net global GDP has fallen by $13.6 trillion through February 2021 as a direct consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. With the size of the global economy estimated at $87.55 trillion in 2019, the coronavirus recession has shrunk the Earth's GDP by 15.5% through February 2021.

In addition to European government-imposed lockdowns that began in September 2020, the data for February 2021 includes the impact of regional lockdowns in China, Japan, and also states like California in the U.S.

As expected, these recent declines in global GDP are smaller than the initial impact of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. With the introduction of effective vaccines, it is possible we've already seen the bottom for the double dip global recession as most nations relax their lockdown restrictions on commerce.

One large regional exception to that trend may be found in the Eurozone, where many countries are continuing in lockdown because their national health systems declined to acquire adequate supplies of the COVID vaccines.

Previously on Political Calculations

Here is our series quantifying the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Earth's economy, presented in reverse chronological order.

And just for fun, we'll end this article with our tool for doing the global GDP math based on changes in the rate of accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The default data reflects the change in that rate from December 2019 through February 2021. If you're reading this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to our site to access a working version of the tool.

Change in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Input Data Values
Change in Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere [Parts per Million]
World Population [billions]

Change in Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emitted into Atmosphere
Calculated Results Values
Carbon Dioxide Emissions [billions of Metric Tonnes]
Estimated Change in World GDP [trillions]

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