Covid19 and Climate Change
For roughly a year that the world seems to have been put on pause. Factories were shut down, airplanes grounded, and working from home became the norm.
This resulted in a drastic reduction of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere which led to phenomenons never seen before: We have seen animals returning to places they escaped from years ago and the uncover of landscapes that were blocked by air pollution.
How Covid19 positively affected global warming?
First of all, it is important to mention that there are not systems in place to monitor global emissions in real-time. The data that we have are approximations based on the emission alteration of the most affected sectors.
According to this article from BBC news, emissions have declined by around 7% this year. France and the UK saw the greatest falls, mainly due to severe shutdowns whilst China has seen such a large rebound from coronavirus that overall emissions may grow this year.
The travel industry was highly affected by the corona virus which led to the emissions of greenhouse gases to be 40% below than 2019 levels. According to this nature article the transportation sector drop was the largest contribution to the total emissions change.
At its peak, the decrease in daily fossil CO2 emissions were -17% compared to 2019 but still these only corresponds to the level of emissions in 2006. The associated annual decrease will be much lower (-7%), which is comparable to the rates of decrease needed year-on-year over the next decades to limit climate change to a 1.5 °C warming.
Are these changes enough to slow down climate change?
Far from it, covid restrictions are just a “glitch in the matrix”. Soon emissions will go back to the previous levels reestablishing our previous dark route towards a warmer planet.
In some cases this coronavirus crisis was a distraction from the environment topic, for example:
Many international climate negotiations were delayed including the COP26 (UN climate change conference) that has been delayed a year.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been calling for more commercial development in the Amazon rainforest
Some countries and private companies may delay or cancel investments in renewable energy or climate action policies if their finances have been impacted by the pandemic.
You can read more about this example in this blog post
Is there a silver lining?
Indeed there is. Even though this pollution reduction was collateral consequences of our efforts to contain this pandemic it showed us that it is possible to live in a less polluted world. Of course, no one wants to live in a constant lockdown but there are ways to adapt our lifestyle to live more sustainable lives. We must take this opportunity to do a hard reset and invest in a “Green recovery”. We must use the money that is being injected into the economy to further develop more sustainable technologies.
Climate Change App
If you want to start living a more sustainable life our app, Changeit, gives you simple actions you can start taking now to reduce your CO2 footprint. We designed our app to help busy people that want to fight climate change.
We compiled all the information in easy to read actions and notifications that will help you adopt more sustainable behaviors without taking much of your time.