If you have been following the news lately, it is no secret that a new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, has wreaked havoc on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. With over 100 000 cases and 4000 deaths worldwide, global panic has ensued. We are not shy of a pandemic, and media outlets are quick to cover the latest numbers and statistics, as well as stories of quarantine and containment. This is, of course, all with reason; this is an important issue that must be talked about and tackled before the damage to humanity is irreversible.
This being said, the climate issue has been put on the back-burner in the wake of this new disease. However, very few have thought about the environmental impacts that this pandemic has had.
First off, let’s start with the good news. China has been under quarantine for approximately two months, and carbon emissions have dropped significantly since then. China’s carbon emissions have dropped by 25% since the outbreak, as a result of businesses and factories being closed, as well as a significant drop in the number of commuters. This notable drop in China’s carbon emissions is proof that humankind has the ability to make the changes needed to reverse, or at least halt, the effects of climate change.
Despite this new environmental statistic, the reality is that life will return to somewhat normal after Covid-19 is a thing of the past. Businesses will reopen, roads will be filled with cars and other vehicles, and, well, life will go on. This fact is also accompanied by the strain that this outbreak has put on the global economy; the markets have crashed, as trade has slowed down as a result of quarantined and isolated cities. Businesses and industries will most likely produce in larger quantities to compensate for the time and money lost, thus starting up, and even speeding up, the effects of climate change.
The coronavirus outbreak is one to be taken seriously, as is has had detrimental effects on human livelihood, the economy, and eventually the environment. It can be easy to let panic get the best of you in times like these, but all you can really do is take the necessary precautions to ensure your own health and that of those around you. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands!
By Valentina Tsilimidos