15 April 2020

Covid-19 and the Environment

Submitted by Yasmine

Coronavirus has had catastrophic impacts on mankind but is also having some positive effects on the environment, including:

  1. A significant drop in air pollution as a result of the shut-down of cloth, coal, and oil producing industries (amongst others) in developed, or developing, industrial nations,
  2. Polluting gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is mainly produced by car engines, power plants, and other industrial processes have reduced,
  3. Lowered CO2-emissions as a result of the minimal numbers of vehicles on the road,
  4. Improved air quality and reduced pollution as a result of the reduction in air travel. With fewer planes buzzing around, issues associated with contrails have reduced significantly,
  5. The drop in coal consumption has contributed to the drop in air pollutants,
  6. Domestic energy use is rising as more and more people work from home, but industrial and commercial use has fallen,
  7. Some experts predict that countries may be able to meet their 2015 Paris Agreements.

While this is all great news, there is no guarantee that the dip in emissions will last for long after the pandemic. Environmentalists warn it could be temporary, with many questioning whether the world will just go back to business as usual when it recovers from Covid-19. The climate issue has been pushed off the agenda as climate talks have been delayed and there are fears countries could prioritise human and economic welfare before that of the environment. 

We can only pray that individuals and governments have been enjoying air that is the cleanest it has been since 2008, and will be motivated to keep it that way.