The impact on economic activity caused by Coronavirus is temporarily reducing carbon emissions, according to Carbon Brief, Covid-19 contributed to reducing by 25% the CO2 emissions of China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, mainly due to the measures implemented by the country to contain the virus, causing a decrease between 25% and 40% of the industrialized sectors.
Other countries have also implemented, as a preventive measure, the interruption of some activities and due to the rapid spread of this virus, more nations will continue to implement restrictions, which directly influences the decrease in CO2 emissions.
This global decarbonisation of CO2 emissions could save time for climate action, even more important, motivate and drive long-term behavioural changes.
What are the environmental consequences of this situation?
- Improving air quality: According to Marshall Burke, a researcher at Stanford University, the improvements in air quality registered in China may have saved the lives of 4,000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70. Hubei province in China is a case of success in reducing air pollution thanks to the measures implemented due to the Coronavirus.
- Reduction of emissions: As mentioned above, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased due to the temporary cessation of industrial activity. According to experts, if this trend continues, this may lead to the first drop in global emissions since the 2008/2009 financial crisis.
- Generation of awareness and promotion of structural changes: the attention and management of this pandemic shows us how government policies and behavioural changes can have a great impact on the face of a crisis. This situation shows us how science, emergency measures implemented by governments and immediate and effective action are essential to face the problems of our planet, and to be an example for combating climate change.