What the Coronavirus Means for Climate Change

Photo from Canva

By Agi Ngie

More than 100,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, according to nytimes.com. New York, California, and Washington are among the states that have been affected the most by this pandemic. But, all countries around have been affected as numbers continue to rise by the day.

As the number of known cases continues to rise, states have started making decisions as to how to keep their residents safe. States officials across the U.S are issuing state-at-home orders to help eliminate the spread of the virus. If there’s any silver lining in this mess, it’s that the coronavirus pandemic is teaching us a valuable lesson about the importance of climate change.

Due to countries shutting down and policymakers implementing quarantine policies, changes in our environment are beginning to take place. For example, one of the largest drops in pollution levels is seen in  China which has been put under a strict lockdown since late January.

The city of 11 million people serves as a major transportation hub and is home to hundreds of factories supplying essentials needed to the global supply chains. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide levels across eastern and central China have been 10-30% lower than normal.

Some positive impacts of quarantine include:
-Canal water in Venice has cleared up without boat traffic. 
-Air pollution in China has plunged amid unprecedented lockdowns. 
-In Thailand and Japan, mobs of monkeys and deer are roaming streets now devoid of tourists.

Furthermore, quarantine is effective in protecting or restoring public health. It can also contribute to protecting the overall human and national security. Examples of “human security” include safety from constant threats of hunger, disease, crime, and repression.  It includes the major important aspects of a good human life such as health, safety, and employment.

These aspects are all affected by the quality of public health, and it also depends on the longevity  of the safety measures that have already been implemented. The same can be said for national security, which includes safety from military threats to states, and non‐military issues including the economy and trade, the environment, and infectious diseases.

Though quarantine is providing some benefits, experts believe preventing an effective COVID-19 response will continue to keep climate change action out of reach.
Scientists believe that the impacts of COVID-19 will rise over time, threatening the lives of people that are the most vulnerable to get the virus. They warn that climate change will severely harm many individuals over time.

If governments and companies can take extreme actions to cancel sports seasons, shut down workplaces, and restrict movement, why can’t they take similar steps to change how we produce and consume energy? Climate change is just as serious as COVID-19. Therefore, government officials should take the necessary steps to help prevent climate change.

Ways the government that confront climate change includes:

  • Protect and Restore Key Ecosystems
  • Support Small Agricultural Producers
  • Promote Green Energy

The government has to start taking the initiative as far as climate change is concerned. Also, as a society, we have to start taking much better care of the planet we live in. Let’s not wait until a virus disrupts our daily lives for us to start thinking about climate change. These small changes are all it takes to help prevent greater changes to our climate. 

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