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My Thoughts on Corona Virus’ Effects on Climate Change

Because of COVID-19, people have been told to stay inside their homes for as long as they can. As a result, there has been a slight decrease in the amount of emissions being released. When fossil fuels burn, they emit ninety-eight percent of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, which further contribute to global warming. “’In terms of direct, physical impacts, yes we’re seeing a slowdown in some emissions…’, says Andrea Dutton, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ’But of course, what really matters is cumulative emissions. If it’s short lived, it’s not really touching the tip of the iceberg…’” (Gardiner, 2020). Years of pollution will not be eliminated by a couple months decline in emissions, so we must take into account the damage we are doing to the earth and take action before it is too late.

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146362/airborne-nitrogen-dioxide-plummets-over-china

Although there has been a slight halt in carbon emissions, the amount of deaths caused by the pandemic are  causing funerals and hospitals to not have enough capacity for casualties. There have also been many supply shortages for certain items such as disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper, all of which are repercussions of the people in panic. People being forced to stay inside is an indirect, temporary solution to a directly permanent problem that is climate change. With that in mind, there is more that needs to be done. These situations have challenged everyone and it is a startling time. With the approach of summer,  people are ignoring the rules of social distancing and wearing masks because they want to go out. I understand that people want to enjoy the weather and engage in outdoor activities, but they must understand that we are still not in a safe zone yet. “’Both the pandemic and the climate crisis are problems of exponential growth against a limited capacity to cope’, said Elizabeth Sawin, co-director of Climate Interactive, a think tank…” (Qilai, 2020). The virus has affected people very quickly with almost 270,000 deaths, while the climate crisis has been getting exponentially worse. One day, we will reach the breaking point.

I am one of the few people considered essential to be able to work. I work in a supermarket as a cashier, and I always wear mask and gloves. I am grateful that I can still work, because unfortunately, so many people have not been able to work. The government has been slowly lifting the lockdown, ensuring that many stores and places of work are opened again. Testing kits for the virus are becoming more and more available each day, but it can difficult to find a place that are giving the tests. At the start of the pandemic gaining awareness, the middle-class and lower-class citizens were not able to get testing. Rich people such as actors, basketball players, musicians, ad more were able to get tested. The outcome of this was public outrage, because this clearly shows the bias of who should be tested and treated first.

We truly do not know when all of this will deescalate. It will take some time for a vaccine to come out, and even when the vaccine does come out people still need to be  extremely cautious. This pandemic has brought on so many changes to the daily life of people that has never happened before, such as students having school online. So many people have tragically lost family members and friends throughout this crisis too. Hopefully a vaccine comes out quickly that way the distribution process is not delayed.

 

References

Gallucci, Maria. “The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Curbing China’s CO2 Emissionsk.” IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News, 31 Mar. 2020, spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/environment/coronavirus-outbreak-curbing-china-co2-emissions.

 

Gardiner, Beth, et al. “Coronavirus Holds Key Lessons on How to Fight Climate Change.” Yale E360, 23 Mar. 2020, e360.yale.edu/features/coronavirus-holds-key-lessons-on-how-to-fight-climate-change.

 

 

Shen, Qilai. “Carbon Emissions Are Falling Sharply Due to Coronavirus. But Not for Long.” National Geographic, 3 Apr. 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/coronavirus-causing-carbon-emissions-to-fall-but-not-for-long/#close.

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. We have all been affected by COVID-19 especially due to climate change. It is true that because of quarantine fewer people are outside driving and using less fossil fuels, which reduces CO2 emissions. The concern here is how climate change leads or connects to COVID-19, and how we must all learn how to stop one of the roots that can cause climate change.

    Climate change has caused many problems in our ecosystem. It contributes to issues within our agriculture. According to a news website theguardian.com, an article titled “Halt Destruction of Nature or Suffer even Worse Pandemics, say world’s top scientists”, states that we humans are the main cause of this outbreak. The reasons for this are that we are responsible for serious deforestation, intensive industrial farming, mining, and uncontrolled expansion of agriculture and infrastructures.

    This is harming our nature and wildlife. The exploitation of wildlife is leading to increased interactions with them, which has lead to the spread of a higher percent of viruses, diseases, and other known illnesses caused by animals. I know that people are mitigating and trying to always make a profit in either infrastructure, farming, and mining but we must not harm nature in the process because it will lead to worsening conditions and negatively impacting the world’s ecosystem in total. Now that COVID-19 has affected the world we have to think about better ways to have a safer environment and keep our families and agriculture safe.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/halt-destruction-nature-worse-pandemics-top-scientists

  2. Thanks Yoely for your blog post on how the Coronavirus pandemic affects climate change.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world on pause, causing unintended, positive climate effects. Less cars are seen on the road as lockdown orders are announced. Factories closed either to stop the spread or were forced to. As a result of these two events, scientists have seen emission levels rapidly go down during the quarantine period in places like China, Italy, and the U.S (Chow 2020). Widespread lockdown orders have resulted in drastically lowered emissions by eliminating some of the biggest causes of emissions today.

    However, lowering emissions by just shutting down everything should never be a solution. As you have explained thoroughly in your post, people go through a lot of hardships the further this lockdown extends, and it would be cruel to say that we are winning the climate change fight because people are forced to stay home, not working or driving. Another fact is that it is only a temporary solution. We agree that the lockdown is bad and I think it will eventually end. Lifting lockdowns would mean cars being back on the road and factories running again, causing emission levels to go back to the same or even higher levels as people try to make up for lost time.

    Then the question becomes: What is it that we must do? Lockdown orders cause lowered emissions but cause people to suffer, and when it is eventually lifted, emissions would return back to the levels seen before the pandemic.
    I think the lockdowns gives governments, companies and people a chance to think about strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

    Electric vehicles are a possible solution. Governments can help by giving incentives to companies to make and sell electric vehicles. More charging stations are needed for vehicles to go longer distances. Electric vehicles do come with some problems, such as its comparatively high price and the time required to charge being too long to be a full replacement for traditional fuel motor vehicles. As of now, the prospect of EVs completely replacing gasoline vehicles is strong, but it is dependent on whether companies can innovate solutions to the current disadvatages of e-vehicles. If I can charge an electric car as fast as filling the tank for a gasoline-powered car, then we are one step closer to electric vehicles being the future of transportation.

    Sources

    Barbiroglio, Emanuel. Electric Cars Sales Doubled In The Midst Of Coronacrisis. Forbes. 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/05/20/electric-cars-sales-doubled-in-the-midst-of-coronacrisis/1f9ff48f4c42

    Chow,Denise. Coronavirus shutdowns have unintended climate benefits: cleaner air, clearer water. NBC News. 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/coronavirus-shutdowns-have-unintended-climate-benefits-n1161921

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