So far, discussions of a coronavirus exit strategy have mainly focused on the steps that could bring an end to the lockdown. In the short term, both in the UK and elsewhere, there is nothing more desirable than letting people resume their lives, once it is safe to do so. But the speed of the “return to normal” is not the only thing that matters. The manner in which the world’s leaders manage the colossal economic and political shocks caused by the virus is also of the utmost importance. And at the top of their list of priorities, alongside human welfare, must be the biosphere and its future. It’s too soon to say with any confidence what impact coronavirus will have on the climate emergency. The brakes placed on economic activities of many kinds, worldwide, have led to carbon emission cuts that would previously have been unthinkable: 18% in China between February and March; between 40% and 60% over recent weeks in Europe. Habits and behaviours once regarded as sacrosanct have been turned on their heads: road traffic in the UK has fallen by 70%. Global air traffic has halved. Meanwhile, a much-needed spotlight has been thrown on humans’ troubling relationship to wildlife, with some experts arguing that the degradation of the natural world and exploitation of other species is among the pandemic’s causes.
Guardian 12th April 2020 read more »