The link between Coronavirus and the climate
Economists and scientists in Finland and the United States have found that the Coronavirus has cut down greenhouse emissions at a much faster rate than years of negotiations on climate change.
The Coronavirus is having a significant impact the world over. The aviation industry, for example, is forecasting a significant decrease in activities, the tourism industry has taken a big hit, sport events and international conferences have had to be cancelled and various schools have closed down.
Economists are anticipating a recession in Germany and Japan due to the lack of trade with China. The rate of growth of the global economy is expected to be low and the demand for oil decreased even more rapidly than it did during the international financial crisis of 2008.
This virus is causing a change in people’s habits and without knowing it people are contributing to a better climate. This is due to the fact that more workers are working from home and there are more meetings being held through video-conferencing, so fewer people are travelling to the office, thus reducing traffic and lessening the level of pollution caused by cars.
Jon Erickson, an economist at the University of Vermont in the United States, said that the only time that emissions are significantly reduced is when countries have a recession. He said that these times highlight the link between greenhouse gases and economic growth.
These last few weeks have shown that, when a crisis hits that needs to be addressed with urgency, countries around the world act fast. By the same token, if climate change were to be treated as an emergency along the lines of this pandemic, it would require a similar level of international coordination.
While it shook the economy of countries all around the world, the Coronavirus has clearly shown that the international community can act as one. The impact on the economy and the climate has also shown how we are collectively responsible for emissions. If we ignore this responsibility we will live to experience more serious crises.
With a death rate of over 50,000 people worldwide, the Coronavirus still appears to be less fatal than polluting energy sources that, according to a recent study held in Finland, are responsible for 4.5 million deaths a year caused by air pollution.
I do not want to be alarmist but scientists are warning that the changes in the climate are increasing the likelihood of the spread of diseases such as the Coronavirus. No one knows how lethal the next virus will be!