An environmental activist holds a banner as Greenpeace has called on Poland’s conservative government to focus on its citizens’ wellbeing and the environment rather than on the GDP growth as the coal-reliant economy looks to unfreeze after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in front of the Polish Prime Minister Chancellery in Warsaw, Poland April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Carbon emissions are projected to decline by 8 percent this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the largest drop in emissions the world has seen since World War II. A massive reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels that stem from vehicle emissions is visible in dozens of photos and graphics over previous coronavirus epicenters such as Italy and China. Even so, scientists say the drop will not amount to a net reduction in emissions this year. While the skies may be clearer, they say the world is still on track to see an increase in temperatures for the next 20 years.

Environmentalists argue that governments have an opportunity in their COVID-19 relief efforts to incorporate and even prioritize climate change mitigation. In Europe, the heads of governments for 17 nations have called on the European Commission to craft a recovery plan that integrates the European Green Deal. Economists in a University of Oxford paper recommend that governments allocate relief funds to invest in low-carbon transportation and clean energy research. They argue that efforts such as a $25 billion bailout for the U.S. airline industry will bring few economic improvements while continuing to encourage business methods that damage the climate.


Others argue that a shift in consumer behavior under the pandemic could be a more permanent change that innately benefits the environment. Recent polling indicates that many people working from home hope to continue doing so, while urban centers report an increase in pedestrians and cyclists. Benjamin Houlton, a professor of environmental science at the University of California, Davis, told USA Today that the change in behavior alone is a case study that could be useful in how scientists and lawmakers tackle climate change in the future. “Collective actions can have a real impact on emissions, rapidly,” Houlton said.

MEDIA CONTRIBUTION

Iceland uses coronavirus stimulus money to fight climate change – Fox News – 5/10/2020 Around $1.3 million will be put to work aiming to naturally store carbon dioxide long-term in order to reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, according to The Reykjavik Grapevine. A recent report in the newsletter Melting Glaciers revealed that glaciers in Iceland have been rapidly retreating for 25 years due to increasingly warming temperatures.

The Canals Are Clear Thanks to the Coronavirus, But Venice’s Existential Threat Is Climate Change – InsideClimate News – 5/12/2020 If the world can’t radically reduce its carbon footprint, climate models show that sea-level rise is most likely to inundate Venice by 2100. Either radical steps to slow global warming must be taken by world leaders, or some special fix for Venice needs to be devised and implemented. To date, no one knows what that would be. 

Clean energy and climate change unlikely to lead recovery from coronavirus – Axios – 5/11/2020 Congress is going to spend the next several months debating legislation to provide different levels of relief, rescue and recovery to the economy, which is still reeling from coronavirus-fueled shutdowns. In theory, this provides a lot of opportunities to incorporate clean energy and climate-change ideas, but the reality is that they could just get lost in a crowded and messy crisis.

Deforestation of the Amazon has soared under cover of the coronavirus – NBC News – 5/11/2020 Environmentalists, who have also warned about the ongoing deforestation, said that the pandemic has provided cover to the operations and blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for what they see as offering his tacit approval of the deforestation. In response to calls to protect the Amazon, Bolsonaro has sent armed forces.

INFLUENCER CONTRIBUTION

Rep. Barbara Lee @Rep. Barbara Lee 12 May This is a bad faith argument by people who would rather see communities suffer than have their billionaire buddies lose a few bucks. #GreenNewDeal would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and industries and help SAVE our economy and our planet. https://t.co/dfpcp2Xswk

Breitbart News @Breitbart News 12 May Poor Global Warming Gang…all this attention on the Chinese coronavirus has ’em thirsty. https://t.co/dJ4ZQL70WZ

Thomson Reuters Foundation News @Thomson Reuters Foundation News 12 May Will coronavirus change the way the world tackles the climate crisis? We asked the experts. https://t.co/t4fYsYPDOk

Yale Environment 360 @Yale Environment 360 12 May Some hope that the resurgence of government action during the pandemic offers a way forward for fighting climate change. Others fear the worst, that the rush to resuscitate a badly battered global economy will push climate down the international agenda. https://t.co/sAVFz2An4v

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