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How COVID-19 and Climate Change are Related

COVID-19 and climate change are both extremely harmful to human life. In recent years, global climate change has become the biggest threat facing mankind. The massive burning of fossil fuels, the uncontrolled emissions of greenhouse gases, and the excessive deforestation of forests have caused a sharp rise in global temperature, leading to many catastrophic consequences. The situation of glaciers retreating and sea level rise is quite severe. This year, COVID-19 appeared globally.

Just like climate change, the COVID-19 epidemic has become a major global crisis. It is currently believed that COVID-19 spreads from person to person mainly through close contact. Some asymptomatic people may also spread the virus. The closer the interaction between a person and others and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Although the risk of spreading COVID-19 from animals to humans is low, there have been reports of cases where patients interacted with pets, which caused pets to contract the virus.

Climate change has increased the risk of a pandemic. There is no positive evidence to show that climate change has affected the spread of COVID-19. However, climate change has changed the living habits of both humans and animals. Because of the greenhouse effect, animals will migrate to different habits due to environmental changes. This causes animals to come into contact with other animals that they never previously touched, which increases the spread of germs. Excessive deforestation has caused animals to lose their original living environment. As a result, animals are getting closer and closer to human living environments, thus spreading their own viruses to humans.

Air pollution increases the risk of COVID-19. Studies have found that people living in poor air environments are more likely to die from COVID-19. Because of air pollution and people’s smoking habits, their respiratory function is worse than that of people who breathe fresh air in a clean environment. Street sleepers are a very good example. Because these people are exposed to the outdoors for a long time without any air defense measures, wild animals may come in contact with them. The invasion of the virus will most easily happen to them.

The consequences of climate change will cause COVID-19 to lose control. The most common consequences of climate change are floods or droughts. However, super storms will occur in people’s lives because of climate change. In May 2020, a super powerful storm happened on the east coast of India. This time period is also at the same time that COVID-19 affects the world. Millions of people have moved to crowded shelters. But some of them refused to enter shelters because of fear of contracting the virus. This led to the deaths of people who stayed at home when the storm was in a village near the sea. It is difficult for people who have moved into the shelter to avoid the virus infection.

The arrival of COVID-19 has helped slow climate change. With the rapid spread of COVID-19 on a global scale, the global economy has also seen a downward trend. This has led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Looking at history, infectious diseases have always threatened the survival of mankind. Climate change, ecological environment changes, and their coordination with human activities are the main factors of infectious diseases. Since entering the state of isolation and epidemic prevention, most people have stayed at home, thereby reducing traffic flow and vehicle carbon emissions. In the industrial sector, workers can reduce their working hours per week to reduce the amount of industrial carbon emissions. While people are fighting COVID-19, climate change has also improved a lot.

Wyns, Arthur. “How our responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked” Weforum, World Economic Forum, 02 April 2020, weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/climate-change-coronavirus-linked/

Jauregui, Jason Pareja. “What is the effect of COVID-19 on Climate Change?” Oneyoungworld, oneyoungworld.com/blog/what-effect-covid-19-climate-change

“COVID-19 and Climate Change” Reliefweb, OCHA, 24 August 2020, reliefweb.int/report/world/covid-19-and-climate-change”Coronavirus and Climate Change” Hsph, Harvard T.H. Chan, hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/subtopics/coronavirus-and-climate-change/

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One Response

  1. Comment by City Tech Blogger Oumou Diallo

    How has coronavirus impacted climate change? Some say it is good, but most say climate change will make coronavirus worse or vice versa coronavirus has made climate change worse. Which is it? I remember seeing images of China and India showing clearer skies since many people were quarantined, no factories working, no cars in the streets, flights canceled, remote learning in session and working from home. I thought with everything shutdown, it will be good for the climate, but the facts prove otherwise.

    It is true that during the quarantine period, the pandemic easily “cut CO2 emission in China by 25%” 1 which is remarkable. If only government and companies can insure, we stay in this direction when everything goes back to normal. However, many fear that we will face a “rampant industrial stage to make up for the economic lost during the pandemic” 1. The pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs. In desperation for economy to go back to normal, climate change is not on people’s mind at the moment. It is believed that coronavirus has caused the “largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions” 1 since the second world war.

    As you can see from the graph there has been almost 6% drop in CO2 emissions in 2020. No other event in history comes close to lowering CO2 emissions. We should use this to our advantage to “create lasting changes towards net zero emissions” 1, ambitious international goals from all major countries.

    With all this great news and glimmer of hope, the UN reports that covid has done little to slow climate change. It is amazing because even though daily global carbon emission has been down since covid 19 quarantine, CO2 levels in the atmosphere are still rising exponentially. Did you know that the carbon dioxide humans have emitted can remain in the atmosphere for a hundred years? Mind you, it took for most of the world to shut down to bring CO2 emissions down by just 25% in China. If we do not take climate change seriously, there might come a time where we will have to quarantine ourselves again. This time instead of a pandemic it will be for climate change. At this point, even if we attempt to lower the CO2 emissions, the concentration of green house gasses in the atmosphere is too high. The damage has been done. Cutting CO2 emissions is not cutting it anymore, we need longer lasting solutions. What are those longer lasting changes? How can the world reopen while at the same time maintain the progress towards net zero emission? The un secretary general Antonio Guterres said it best “We must turn the recovery from the pandemic into a real opportunity to build a better future. We need science, solidarity, and solutions”. Covid has been around for almost one year and it has grappled all our attentions. Global warming has been around for decades but we are not 100% focused. if we do not continue to move in the right direction to slow down climate change who knows where we will be in a decade or two.

    Trump took us out of the Paris agreement because he felt that America was paying too much and other countries like china were not doing their part. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt that he has good intentions to make America great again, America first in terms of economic profit. How will that money save us from climate change if it is not put towards mitigating climate change in America or internationally. He does not even believe in climate change. It makes me wonder what trajectory the world would be in today if Al Gore was president twenty years ago.

    SOURCES
    1. evans, simon. “Analysis: Coronavirus Set to Cause Largest Ever Annual Fall in CO2 Emissions.” Carbon Brief, 7 May 2020, http://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-set-to-cause-largest-ever-annual-fall-in-co2-emissions.
    2. chow, claudia. “Carbon Tax: A Shared Global Responsibility For Carbon Emissions: Earth.Org – Past: Present: Future.” Earth.Org – Past | Present | Future, 8 Sept. 2020, earth.org/carbon-tax-a-shared-global-responsibility-for-carbon-emissions/.
    3. McGrath, Matt. “UN Report: Covid Crisis Does Little to Slow Climate Change.” BBC News, BBC, 9 Sept. 2020, http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54074733

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