Satellite reveals a steep decline in China’s CO2 emissions in early 2022

Hui Li, Bo Zheng*, Philippe Ciais, Folkert Boersma, T. Riess, Randall V. Martin, Gregoire Broquet, Ronald van der A, Haiyan Li, Chaopeng Hong, Yu Lei, Yawen Kong, Qiang Zhang, Kebin He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Response actions to the coronavirus disease 2019 perturbed economies and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Omicron variant that emerged in 2022 caused more substantial infections than in 2020 and 2021 but it has not yet been ascertained whether Omicron interrupted the temporary post-2021 rebound of CO2 emissions. Here, using satellite nitrogen dioxide observations combined with atmospheric inversion, we show a larger decline in China’s CO2 emissions between January and April 2022 than in those months during the first wave of 2020. China’s CO2 emissions are estimated to have decreased by 15% (equivalent to −244.3 million metric tons of CO2) during the 2022 lockdown, greater than the 9% reduction during the 2020 lockdown. Omicron affected most of the populated and industrial provinces in 2022, hindering China’s CO2 emissions rebound starting from 2021. China’s emission variations agreed with downstream CO2 concentration changes, indicating a potential to monitor CO2 emissions by integrating satellite and ground measurements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2023


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