You cannot ignore it, the COVID-19 virus. Better known as corona. Countries all over the world are in lockdown and people have to stay indoors. This means no more trips or fun activities, but for many people it just means no more work and no more coming out of the house. Besides the fact that it has cost a lot of people their lives and it is a terrible disease, there seem to be a number of benefits for nature at the moment. In this article you will find out the effects of lockdown on the climate during this pandemic.
People stay at home, which means there is much less traffic on the roads and factories and coal-fired power stations are closed down. This results in less CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases, all of which benefits the climate. Whether this reduction will have effects on the long run or whether it is temporary cannot be stated yet. Other positive effects on nature are the stop of the rising sea level and the fact that there is less trade with other countries. Products are made in their own country again, so producing and buying no longer depends on other countries. Due to the outbreak of the corona virus there is less flying worldwide and some airlines even choose to temporarily stop flying at all. This results in less nitrogen dioxide in the air which leads to less pollution.
The Climate Change Due To The Effects of Lockdown
The first country affected by corona was China. It all started there around January 21st, the infections continued to rise and the country went into lockdown. Strict measures were taken, but not without results. More than two months (in quarantine) later the peak is over and temporary hospitals close down because they are no longer needed. In some places in China like Beijing and Shanghai some museums and parks open again. China is proof that the quarantine is actually showing results. Besides the fact that the peak is over and people are no longer infected and are healthy again, the quarantine has also done wonders for nature in China. There has been a huge decrease in air pollution in China on satellite imagery and CO2 emissions in the country have decreased by a quarter compared to last year. Scientists even speculate that more lives have been saved in China by reducing air pollution than the number of lives taken by the virus.
Not only China is showing significant changes in the environment. Italy, which is the worst affected country in Europe, is also seeing the natural wonders. In Venice, for the first time in ages, fish can be seen in the water again. Residents have even seen dolphins swimming along the canals last week. Because residents stay at home and there are no tourists anymore, there are no gondolas sailing through the city, so the water is so clear and clean that you can see through it.
Apart from the advantages mentioned above, there are also disadvantages for the world in terms of climate and economy. There is a huge recession going on. Companies have to close down and jobs will disappear. This will eventually lead to a decline in prosperity. That the economy is suffering right now and that all governments will do everything they can to regain economic growth after this crisis is no secret. As a result, a lot of money will be invested in the economy and not in improving the climate. So it remains to be seen if we will see anything of the CO2 reduction during the corona crisis in 2 years’ time. Scientists also wonder if this is the way to improve the climate because there is no certainty at all that this will be good for us in the long term. To really help nature, a long-term reduction of CO2 emissions is needed and not a temporary improvement due to a virus.
In fact we can’t say yet if corona will eventually have a really positive impact on the climate and nature but at this moment it has certainly brought some good things. The effects of lockdown are seen on the climate. But the eventual consequences of the virus can’t be determined for now but it’s just a matter of time before we find out. Maybe working from home and internet meetings will become the new normal and people will travel less which means less emissions, who knows. For now, everyone should try to stick to the measures announced by the government and health is paramount.