The relationship between COVID-19 and climate change has complex implications that go far beyond logical reasoning. In fact, regardless of the sharp decrease in global emissions due to the confinement of the world’s population, it is a major mistake to claim that global warming has been halted.
Large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been accumulated in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution of the mid-18th century.
So, How has this pandemic affected the fight against climate change?
Obviously, there has been a remarked reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but this low emission scenario seems to be only a one-off.
Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges we are facing as humanity and we will have to keep dealing with it in the future.
Pollution may grow after the coronavirus
According to Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Helsinki Clean Air and Energy Research Centre, contamination may be triggered by the coronavirus.
The economic downturn and containment measures due to the coronavirus could lead to CO2 emissions to levels not seen since World War II.
“This already happened after the financial crisis of 2009,” said the analyst.
The attempt to increase production in order to meet their targets will lead to a considerable increase in coal burning, and a return to normal could involve that emissions reach new historic highs.
Due to fear and as a preventive measure, public transport will take a back seat, generating an increase in the use of private vehicles for moving around in the cities.
In addition, as the global economy is suffering, many people, companies and countries will put the fight against climate change and sustainability goals on hold to make ends meet.
There is a high risk that, in the face of the need for recovery, we will lead environmental policies into oblivion, failing to meet all the objectives set by governments and major organisations against climate change.
If we want to draw some kind of learning from the COVID-19 in relation to the fight against climate change, that is if we unite as an international community, we can stop any threat, that a world with fewer emissions is possible, that we must not delay the ecological transition and, above all, that we need to take ambitious climate action on mitigation, adaptation and green finance.