Unexpectedly Intriguing!
10 November 2021

October 2021 saw a deceleration in the rate at which carbon dioxide is being added to the Earth's atmosphere has been falling in recent months. Much of that decline can be attributed to disruptions in production related to measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Asian nations followed by a fossil fuel shortage in China.

That change indicates both that many of the nations in southeast Asia are seeing falling rates of infections, allowing their various lockdown restrictions limiting their economic output to be lifted. It also indicates China is having some success in overcoming its fossil fuel shortages.

The following chart shows how that deceleration fits into the overall pattern since the coronavirus pandemic first became widely apparent in December 2019.

Trailing Twelve Month Average of Year-Over-Year Change in Parts per Million of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, January 2000 - October 2021

Since December 2019, a net reduction of 0.68 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been recorded in the trailing twelve month average of the year over year rate of change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels measured at the remote Mauna Loa Observatory. We estimate this change represents a net loss of $22.6 trillion to the world economy since December 2019.

Looking forward, China is seeing a new surge in SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections, which is already prompting new restrictive lockdowns in the northern region of the country, which has spread to at least 31 provinces. China's government is signaling it expects a "complicated and severe situation" for cases in the months ahead. Disruptions to economic production in China are expected from the lockdowns.


National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Earth System Research Laboratory. Mauna Loa Observatory CO2 Data. [Text File]. Updated 5 November 2021. Accessed 5 November 2021.

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.

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