|Coronavirus affects Earth, but it is not enough to solve climate change.|
This decade got off to a rocky start. When we said we wanted the “roaring twenties,” a global pandemic was certainly not what we envisioned. At EarthPlex, we focus on another one of Earth’s greatest threats: climate change. Well, it turns out that our two enemies go hand in hand. They say that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, but in this case, not so much.
It is a challenge to write about the upsides to a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. However, we are an environmental platform, and therefore, we discuss the environment. COVID-19 has actually helped to lower emissions due to a decrease in economic activity.
Nonessential workers worked from home. Many of them commuted to work by car or public transportation. Now, they commute to another room in their house, or if they’re like me, do all their work in bed. (Typed from my bedroom) This decrease in demand for transportation meant fewer cars on the road and fewer trains on the tracks. This translated to fewer fossil fuels outputted by vehicles and the factories that produce them.
On the topic of factories, purchases of consumer discretionary goods have declined due to an uncertainty of steady income. Factories no longer need to use as much energy to supply as many products - supply and demand. This is a nightmare from an economist’s perspective, but we choose to understand this from the viewpoint of an environmentalist. The International Energy Agency expects global CO2 emissions to fall by eight percent (2.6 Gt) in 2020, the largest annual fall in history. However, coronavirus will not solve all of our problems.
Why It’s Not Enough
Even though we are going to see an eight percent decrease in CO2 emissions in 2020, that is only one year out of a decades-long battle with climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme says that we need a 7.6% decrease in emissions every year until 2030. Even though we are set to surpass that this year, it required shutting down the economy. You may be wondering, why not shut the economy down for an extended period of time? Sadly, that would be catastrophic and make society very poor. How would you make the money to pay basic expenses?
Change is Possible
Fortunately, it is possible to lower carbon emissions without shutting down the economy. In fact, we can lower emissions and improve it. Crazy, huh? The Green New Deal, a plan to tackle climate change, proposes creating high-paying jobs to lower emissions and switch to renewable energy.
You can make a difference too. Read 5 Ways to Help the Environment During the Coronavirus Pandemic to learn what you can do during these tough times. Get notified when we post about climate-related topics with our (FREE) mailing list.