30 apr DEBATE POST: “CoVID-19 lockdown isn’t going to stop air pollution or climate change”
By Benjamin B. Mellish
If you are not living under a rock you will know by now that a pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV 2 virus has caused multiple countries to shut down and encourage people to self quarantine. Many countries such Iran and Italy have suffered due to this pandemic, which has caused their hospitals to be overloaded with patients.
But some good things have also happened as a result of these worldwide lockdowns. According to the Guardian, from 2019 to 2020 ESA (European Space Agency) recorded a massive drop in NO2 in China. NO2 is produced by cars and burning coal.
According to NASA there was a 10-30% reduction in NO2 in central and eastern China. The same thing has also happened in Italy where satellite images revealed a 40% drop in NO2. NO2 is also thought to increase the severity of asthma and lower the immunity against viral diseases.
So the drop in NO2 could unintentionally help us in the fight CoVID-19. An economist named Marshall Burke calculated that the lockdown have saved 4000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70 in China alone. He even claims that the number of people saved due to the lockdown exceeds the number of people dying from CoVID-19.
So all this informations points in the direction that the CoVID-19 lockdowns have solved the problem with climate change and air pollution, but that is far from the truth, because if we don’t try to change our behaviour afterwards, we would just continue from where we left before the corona lockdowns. But we can learn something from how rapidly we acted in connection with the corona virus and that a rapid change is possible and may be necessary to achieve a zero carbon future. Some people might say that we should just go back to how we did things before the corona lockdowns. But this is a ridiculous idea, because then we will have a harder time changing to a more sustainable way of living.
I think that if we are going to have a zero carbon future we could use this lockdown as a tool so to speak. My idea is that we could give more compensation to those companies that are environmentally friendly and nothing to those that aren’t thereby giving a big advantage to the environmentally friendly companies. This would probably also make flying with aeroplanes more expensive and people would find other ways to spend their holidays.
All in all I think that the CoVID-19 lockdowns in general are a bad thing, but on other hand I still think we can learn something from the lockdowns i.e. that in order to reduce the carbon emissions we have to take rapid measures like we did with the CoVID-19 pandemic. We have seen that we can act swiftly, now we just have to do it in order to stop climate change.
Link to where you can write your idea on how to maintain the reduction of air pollution: