The pandemic has taught us a lot about what truly matters to us humans: health, connection and solidarity. But what can Covid-19 teach us about how to fight climate change?
At the beginning of the crisis, all corporate efforts went towards the survival of their business: contingency plans had to be put in place to handle the unexpected slowdown in activities, and sustainability took a back seat (luckily, companies’ attention is now turning once again towards achieving net zero emissions).
But at the same time, the lockdowns put in place throughout 2020 led to a 6-7% year-on-year drop in fossil fuel emissions compared to 2019 – the first global drop in emissions since the 2008 global financial crisis. This reduction was led by the transport sector, which screeched to a halt amidst lockdowns and border closures. Along with the drop in human activity and air pollution, blissful images of dolphins in Venice’s canals became a symbol of nature’s ability to thrive if we give it space.
The trend was short-lived, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, but it showed us that drastic action from governments can result in rapid improvements in the fight against climate change.
Another thing the pandemic taught us is how adaptable we are in the face of crisis. In just a few months, governments put emergency legislation in place to contain the pandemic, set up temporary hospitals and focused all efforts on finding a vaccine, which took just under a year.
Almost all office work moved online during lockdown, changing the way the world collaborates and reducing the need for travel. Events shifted towards a flexible hybrid model that remains in place today and is helping the sector curb its carbon footprint.
The crisis led us to change our habits, and this had an overall positive effect on the planet. We should take this as encouragement and maintain some of the new habits acquired during the pandemic now that we are getting used to the new normal. Think about limiting air travel, working from home when possible, and generally consuming less.
The biggest lesson learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is that when we treat something as an emergency and focus all our efforts on dealing with it, we are able to come up with quick and efficient responses. We need to treat climate change as the emergency that it is, foster public-private collaboration and support powerful policies and social involvement to create the resilient systems our planet and future generations need.
It is time to build an economy geared towards sustainable practices. An economy that works for both people and the planet.
This is our purpose at ClimateTrade: we are leading a global change, helping companies achieve carbon neutrality by providing transparent and traceable financing to certified climate mitigation projects around the world. Visit our marketplace.