Let's balance out

Published by Charlie on 2020-02-27
It isn't as bad as you think. Or maybe it is.

Another week has passed and we're back with the climate updates! This is "Let's balance out" and you'll read one good news and one bad news about the climate crisis. Shall we begin?

So what do you want first? The good news or the bad news?

So, as we all are aware, there is a huge Coronavirus outbreak all over the world. And despite it not being a new plague epidemic, everyone is freaking out. And, I mean, they're right to do so. It's a new virus and we don't know how to cure it yet, so what we have to avoid is everyone getting infected. So governments and cities adopted emergency health measures and one of the effects is the fact that it's more difficult to travel from country to country (or from city to city, for that matter).

But what does this have to do with the environment?

In China, for example, the spread of the virus led to a drop in coal and oil demand. That's because in the attempt to contain the infections, the government extended the period of Lunar New Year holidays, delaying the picking up of economic activity in the country.

This stop has saved China at least 100 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, which is six percent of global emissions during the same period last year and a quarter or more of the country's CO2 emissions.

Another powerful, yet a bit sadder, lesson we can learn from this situation is that, while we may be able to adopt emergency measures in a fast and efficient time, we never do that for the things that really could put us all in danger. I'm not saying that Coronavirus is not dangerous, but the climate crisis will be far worse. So why aren't we able to do something about it the same way we are doing now? It's not like there are not yet climate refugees (bc there are) or that we didn't see or got scared by the consequences of us neglecting our planet (Australia? Amazon forest?).

Maybe the perspective of not having a place to live on doesn't scare us enough? Maybe the thought of human extinction is way too far away to consider? Why are we ignoring the huge elephant in the room?