Can We Find Any Positives Surrounding the Situation Arising from the Coronavirus?
Think about it, we are currently sat in a GCSE question in 20 years' time, these are unprecedented times that are undoubtedly impacting people the world over. However, are there any positives to be found to keep our spirits up? Every cloud...
We think we've spotted something positive to focus on, and it's a topic that is important to us at Blackfish - the environment.
With the restrictions placed on people and business the world over there are a number of areas where greenhouse gas emissions have reduced:
- Global energy consumption has reduced as industry has slowed. You can check the stats on this sort of think for the UK using Gridwatch. Lower consumption means a greater proportion of our energy coming from renewable sources.
- Emissions from aircraft have reduced as the number of flights has greatly decreased. We actually had nice weather in the UK last week and for the first time in a long time, you could see a clear blue sky (no vapour trails)!
- Emissions from heavy industry have reduced as productivity has slowed. China's downturn in the last month alone has reduced CO2 emissions equivalent to 6 months of emissions from the whole of the UK.
- Car usage has reduced and hence CO2, particulate and NOX emissions have too. Additionally, more people are outside walking, running & cycling and appreciating the environment.
See the measured changes in NO2 emissions across Europe (courtesy of the European Space Agency [ESA]) in the past few weeks alone in the accompanying image.
These are just a few observations that have been seen across the world, but can we see any immediate benefits from these changes?
The short answer is; yes!
- You can visualise the reduction in NO2 emissions for various countries in this article by the Guardian - stemming form satellite imagery.
- You can now see fish in the canals in Venice as the reduced boat traffic has allowed sediment to settle.
- In Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles, Seoul and Milan, the fog of pollution has lifted.
With these changes seen in such a short space of time, there is a chance people across the world will pick up on the benefits and make permanent changes to their lifestyle to keep their emissions low. There is also the possibility that once restrictions are lifted, people start travelling with earnest and industry jumps back into action. In reality all changes are likely to be gradual and this pandemic, whilst serious and tragic with its global impact, does offer an opportunity for people to reconnect with nature and do more to care for the environment in the months and years that follow. Hopefully with more people out cycling and walking the appreciation for the environment will grow and we can gain support for the long-term reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure this is not a short-term blip.