Coronavirus Expected To Decrease Carbon Emissions By 8% In 2020

Matty-Sways

The decrease in carbon emissions from the coronavirus is not enough to end climate change and must be sustained by laws.

By: Alexi Chacin

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in carbon emissions. The decrease in manufacturing and the global economic halt has led to carbon emissions in China decreasing by 25% compared to emission levels in 2019, according to Carbon Brief. Only a global level, carbon emissions are expected to drop by 8%, which amounts to 2,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Drops in carbon emissions typically coincide with global crisis. The largest drop in carbon emissions since 1900 was during the Great Depression, according to the Washington Post. Additionally, the most recent substantial drop in carbon emissions occurred during the Great Recession. However, the drop in carbon emissions from the coronavirus is expected to be six times larger than the drop that resulted from the Great Recession. The global energy demand is expected to decrease by 6% this year, compared to energy consumption the year prior, according to Carbon Brief.

The climate change crisis is also being woefully under reported in the media. Media Matters is a non profit organization that focuses on increasing the amount of news coverage that is dedicated to the climate crisis. Recent analysis compared media coverage of the U.N.’s biodiversity report to the news of the birth of Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie. ABC, CBS and NBC, in total allotted 17 minutes and 56 seconds worth coverage to the birth of Archie on May 6, the same day the U.N. biodiversity report was released. However, only CBS covered the release of the report in a 1 minute and 21 second segment.

The report itself delivered grim news, that human created climate change puts 1 million species at risk of extinction. One study found that an increase in global warming by 1 degree Celsius would force up to 1 billion people to migrate to another part of the world that has a sustainable environment for crop production, according to the Washington Post. These migratory shifts are expected to occur by 2070.

The effects of climate change will not be felt equally, low-income individuals are expected to be suffer disproportionately from forced migration due to climate change and living in environments that are too hot, according to the Independent. Currently, 20 million people live in environments with average temperatures above 29 degrees Celsius, making it an unsustainable living environment without air conditioning.

“What we have looked for is humanity’s sensitivity to warming, and that is about 1 billion people in trouble per degree [Celsius] of warming,” said study co-author and ecologist Marten Scheffer of the Santa Fe Institute and Wageningen University.

The models that estimate this dramatic change can be altered if stronger efforts at reducing carbon emissions are made. The Green New Deal (GND) has been the most comprehensive approach towards reducing climate change. The package of policies seeks to end the American economy’s reliance on fossil fuels by 2030, according to the Washington Post. Additionally, one aspect of the GND prioritizes the transition of the country’s energy consumption completely to renewable sources. The transition to renewable energy sources is directly tied to job creation, thereby capturing the workforce that would be freed up by the shrinking reliance on coal, oil and gas.

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