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Climate Change and COVID-19: Two Sides of the Same Coin by City Tech Blogger Ethan Brown

Believe it or not, climate change and COVID-19 are similar. When I say that, I mean the precautions and actions that we take to reduce the number of problems we have for both global issues are similar. Climate change alone was already a problem. However, its effects were caused by Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions causing the Earth to slowly heat up over time. COVID-19 is an accelerant to climate change in that since the spread of the disease has further complicated the original problem that is climate change affecting the Earth.

COVID-19, a major pandemic recently, we all know it has been challenging. In terms of adapting to a new lifestyle of social distancing, distant-learning, and wearing a mask were all mostly foreign concepts to us at not that long ago. Nevertheless, it’s here, and it is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. In the United States specifically, when the pandemic first hit, the economy as well took a hit: the demand for human resources became higher while the supplies grew thinner, the world of live entertainment was paused, and as of today, over 45 million cases of COVID-19 have been filed, of that 729,000 have been killed due to COVID-19. This is just in the United States as I have mentioned, around the world over 240 million cases with a death toll of almost 5 million. Thankfully, statistically you have a higher chance of beating COVID-19; the amount of people it influences is insane. With numbers like that, this pandemic accelerates the toll of which climate change has on the world.

For decades, scientists and geologists have been kept us updated on the effects and current standing of climate change. Climate change at face value does not sound as bad as COVID-19, but it is just as bad. The definition of climate change is change in climate, and the definition of climate is the ideal weather found in an area. Scientists have discovered that the Arctic is melting at a faster rate. Just this July (the 5th) the sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean was at a record low of about 3.4 million square miles of ice cover. This may sound like nothing, but what if I told you that the approximated original ice coverage was about 5.4-6.2 million miles long! This means that the arctic has been melting. That melted water becomes part of the Atlantic Ocean, where during hurricane season, where all the Hurricanes originate. One of the main factors to generate a hurricane is heat found in the water down to 60 meters below sea level. If the water is about 60oF, a hurricane can form. With the Earth getting warmer and warmer due to global warming (GHGs and climate change) the hurricanes become more frequent and more intense. Hurricanes alone cause billions of damages in repairs of the wrecked city and take many lives as well. Hurricane Katrina was one of the costliest hurricanes of all time cost the government $153.8 billion in damages. Hurricanes cause a lot of damage and fatalities; this is just one of the many effects of climate change. Climate change is linked to nearly 10% of global deaths (Averages out to about 5 million a year) due to abnormal hot or cold temperatures in an inversely cold or hot climate.

In conclusion, climate change and COVID-19 both implicate a call to action. For the immediate COVID-19, which directly affects all us and climate change, which also affects everyone. These two global problems are not so distant from one another but rather quite comparable to one another. The two are very costly and immediately impact our lives and society.

Source of image: https://w3ins.com/news/hurricane-preparation-in-the-time-of-covid-19/

 

 

Citation:

  • Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Nicholas Stern, Joseph Stiglitz, Dimitri Zenghelis, Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 36, Issue Supplement_1, 2020, Pages S359–S381, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/graa015
  • “Coronavirus Death Toll.” Worldometer, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll/.
  • “Federal Response to Covid-19: U.S. Treasury Data Lab.” Federal Response to COVID-19 | U.S. Treasury Data Lab, https://datalab.usaspending.gov/federal-covid-funding/.
  • Dunbar, Brian. “What Is Climate Change?” NASA, NASA, 13 May 2015, https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-k4.html.
  • Dickie, Gloria. “As Arctic Melt Sets Early July Record, Hard Times Lie Ahead for Ice: Studies.” Mongabay Environmental News, 8 July 2021, https://news.mongabay.com/2021/07/as-arctic-melt-sets-early-july-record-hard-times-lie-ahead-for-ice-studies/.
  • Fuentes, R.; Galeotti, M.; Lanza, A.; Manzano, B. COVID-19 and Climate Change: A Tale of Two Global Problems. Sustainability202012, 8560. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208560
  • Lombrana, Laura Millan. com, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-07/climate-change-linked-to-5-million-deaths-a-year-new-study-shows.
  • Scott, Michon, and Kathryn Hansen. “Sea Ice.” NASA, NASA, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/SeaIce.

 

Comment on this article

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3 Responses

  1. Ethan Brown’s essay “Climate Change and COVID-19: Two Sides of the Same Coin” has indicated that the Arctic is melting with a faster rate along with the impact of COVID-19, the sea ice cover of the Arctic was about 3.4 million square miles where the approximated original ice coverage was around 6 million miles. And the faster melting rate would cause more frequent and intense hurricanes. I totally agree with Ethan Brown’s opinion about COVID-19 is a contribution to the acceleration of climate change. We all know that the crazy demand of PPE (personal protective equipment) such as single-use gloves, alcohol pads, disinfecting wipes, disposable face masks, gowns, face shields, and so on and so forth, most of these PPE are made of plastic. And plastic is always a problem regarding of climate change.
    Plastic is mostly made of fossil fuel, along with the massive use of plastic for PPE production, the increasing use of fossil fuels produces large quantities of carbon dioxide which increases the greenhouse gas levels therefore raises the average surface temperature of Earth. Consequently, as Ethan Brown’s essay said, with the Earth getting warmer and the Arctic has been melting faster, frequent hurricane become one of the many effects of climate change, and other extreme weather as well. And we all need to face these two tangling world crisis and do our best to reduce the harm that the pandemic has been bringing to the environment and the effects of climate change as well.

  2. I like your comparison Ethan, and I agree that climate change and Covid-19 are problems that need to be taken seriously because they are costing us billions of dollars and puts our lives at risk. One of the first relatable things that came to mind was that to this day, we still have climate change deniers, similar to the people who think Covid-19 is a hoax. I mean there is so much research, and the consequences are right in front of our eyes. Why they still deny it is beyond my understanding. Anyhow, we will have to deal with these problems early on before it’s too late and uncontrollable.

    Another concern I could think of is the loss of habitable land and how that could accelerate the virus transmission. We know that a big chunk of the global population lives near the water. According to the UN, nearly 600 million people live in coastal areas that are just less than 10 meters above sea level. That’s very problematic because when the water rises, 600 million people will have to find a new place to live. Bigger countries like the US and Australia will be fine because they can support more people, granted they will have to abandon their cities. Smaller countries like Bangladesh will have the most difficulty controlling the migration. Bangladesh is already a dense country and losing land because of rising water will only make people cram into whatever land is left. This is a big problem because a virus outbreak under those circumstances would be catastrophic.

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