Are coronavirus-induced lockdowns really slowing down climate change?

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 03, 2020, 02:28 PM(IST)

2010s hottest decade in history, UN says as emissions rise again Photograph:( AFP )

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Climate change will witness little to no impact from the pandemic

While we are in the midst of a pandemic, hundreds of factories have shut, travel has been halted, planes are no longer flying. Many researchers claimed that the air has cleared out over major industrial cities in view of the coronavirus-induced shutdown.

Turns out, it’s not making much of a difference!

According to the World Meteorological Organization, climate change will witness little to no impact from the pandemic.

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Even though reduction in emissions is expected, those will likely be temporary. 

"It does not mean much for climate," said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, a representative of the WMO.

While media outlets across the globe have been reporting that this might help overturn the ill-effects of pollution and global warming, he responded to all such queries by suggesting that “it probably does not mean very much”.

As pollution generating vehicles no longer ply on the road, carbon dioxide emissions will suddenly dip. However, as the world kick starts back into action soon, it will all go back to normal.

“we expect the impact will be fairly short-lived", Riishojgaard said. 

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"The pandemic will be over at some point and the world will start going back to work and with that, the CO2 emissions will pick up again, maybe or maybe not to quite the same level."

Pollution in cities such as New Delhi had dipped recently owing to fewer fumes, but he referred to it as an “artificial halt” to normal activity.

"You could see it as maybe a science experiment: what happens if all of a sudden we turn the whole thing off?" said Riishojgaard. "It will lead some people, and perhaps also some governments, to rethink."

In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, China had halted industrial production to limit the pollution in the city.

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"They demonstrated very clearly that you can absolutely, if you have enough control over the situation, you can turn off the air pollution," he said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has now infected over 1 million people worldwide, and killed over 50,000.

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