Carbon emissions fall during Covid-19

News Editor, Sophie Wilson, describes the reduction of carbon emissions during Covid-19, and how there is hope of a reduced level after the pandemic.

Sophie Wilson
18th April 2020
Image: Pixabay

 With activists alike Greta Thunberg telling us how important it is to look after our environment, day 4 of our uplifting news shows how Covid 19 is having a beneficial effect on carbon emissions. 

Nobody who has ever campaigned for the world to treat the environment better ever wanted a pandemic like Covid-19 to initiate its improvement. But it is important to report how carbon emissions are falling, to prove that the world can be successful in saving the environment if the correct procedures are carried out.

To state some facts from National Geographic, the carbon emissions in China were down an estimated 18 percent between early February and mid March due to falls in coal consumption and industrial output. This meant that 250 million metric tonnes of carbon pollution were avoided (which is half the annual carbon emissions of the UK). In the EU, the reduction of manufacturing means that emissions have been estimated to fall by 400 million metric tonnes this year. 

Although in China, these emissions are already rebounding, researchers are saying that even this blip could be beneficial to the environment. Kimberly Nicholas, a sustainability science researcher at Lund University, told the BBC that even if emissions do rise after lockdown, people are not going to travel to work twice a day just to make up for the times that they missed. The emissions that would have been given out to the environment will not be generated, therefore.

Looking on the bright side, Nicholas has said that people are spending more time with their families right now, and prioritising their loved ones in this time.

“These moments of crisis can highlight how important those priorities are and help people focus on the health and wellbeing of family, friends and community”.

If the pandemic persuades people to continue to change their focus onto these priorities, then this could help emissions remain lower, Nicholas argues. 

Although Nicholas has also stated there is the chance that people are putting off long distance trips and merely going to embark on them later, there is the glimmer of hope that emissions will stay at a reduced level, and that the priorities in peoples’ lives have shifted.

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