In the midst of all the doom and gloom and tragedy of the COVID-19 outbreak, there could be one ray of light. The large swathes of lockdowns across the planet has led to a decrease in carbon emissions which will ultimately benefit the planet.
Planes have virtually been brought to a halt due to the pandemic, and the lockdown has seen millions of less cars on the roads throughout the world.
Ultimately, climate change scientists believe this is letting Earth recover for a few weeks or months.
Glen Peters, Research Director at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research – Oslo, wrote in an article for The Conversation: “The International Energy Agency had already predicted oil use would drop in 2020, and this was before an oil price war emerged between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“The unprecedented coronavirus lockdown in China led to an estimated 25 percent reduction in energy use and emissions over a two-week period compared to previous years (mostly due to a drop in electricity use, industrial production and transport).
Usually packed places have been deserted
What is coronavirus?
“This is enough to shave one percentage point growth off China’s emissions in 2020. Reductions are also being observed in Italy, and are likely to spread across Europe as lockdowns become more widespread.
“The emission-intensive airline industry, covering 2.6 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions (both national and international), is in freefall.
“It may take months, if not years, for people to return to air travel given that coronavirus may linger for several seasons.
“Given these economic upheavals, it is becoming increasingly likely that global carbon dioxide emissions will drop in 2020.”
The poles are melting
Analysis from Stanford University found the drop in nitrogen dioxide across the planet could save tens of thousands of lives.
Environmental resource economist Marshall Burke has calculated that the two months of pollution reduction has saved the lives of 4,000 children under five and 73,000 adults over 70 in China.
That is around 70,000 more lives saved than the coronavirus outbreak has killed.
Mr Burke wrote on the blog G-FEED: “Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural – if admittedly strange – question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself.
“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes’.”