The New York Times reports that world global emissions have dropped because of coronavirus. The virus, which has made thousands ill has forced flights to stop, factories to shut down and refineries to temporarily halt.

China’s carbon dioxide emissions since February have been about 25% lower than February 2019, as calculated by Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

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This decline is equal to New York state’s annual output, or about 150 million metric tons, says Myllyvirta. China’s dependence on fossil fuels is evident in this robust emissions decline. Because China has restricted travel, public gatherings and enforced quarantines, fossil fuel usage has dropped.NASA reported that it had seen big drops in nitrogen dioxide over China, an air pollutant that can lead to respiratory symptoms.

Li Shuo, a senior policy adviser for Greenpeace Asia said China will work to pick up progress to make up for slow economic growth during the outbreak. He told the Times, “Controlling the outbreak and maintaining economic growth are now going to be China’s top priority. And we’ve seen in the past, whenever economic growth needs to be prioritized, the environmental agenda takes a back seat.”

Scientists believe the coronavirus started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China when it passed from an animal to humans. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

Catch up on our coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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