Climate Change Won’t Stop for the Coronavirus Pandemic. The next several months could bring hurricanes, floods and fire, on top of the pandemic currently raging through the country. How do you shelter in place during an evacuation?
Propublica 13th April 2020 read more »
CO2 concentrations measured at Mauna Loa are still rising, and are on track to reach a new global record in May, typically the peak month. But Prof Keeling says a 10 per cent drop in fossil fuel emissions over a period of one year — a scenario that is not impossible during the coronavirus shutdown — would show up in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and be measurable at Mauna Loa. All over the world, pollution levels are dropping fast. The lockdowns triggered by the pandemic, with about 2.6bn people living under restrictions, are starting to have an impact not only on the virus but also on the planet — even if the effect is only temporary and comes at a huge social and human cost. Yet despite the potential short-term dip in emissions, there is a risk that the pandemic — which is likely to dominate debate for months or even years to come — will overshadow environmental concerns. Climate talks have already been delayed and new policy initiatives postponed. The convention centre that was set to host the UN climate talks in Glasgow in November has been converted into a hospital for coronavirus patients. Governments and world leaders have attention for only one crisis right now. “Closing down our entire economies for a period of weeks or months is not going to get us toward decarbonising,” says Peter Betts, previously the UK’s lead climate negotiator, now an associate fellow at Chatham House. “There may be some positive behavioural impact. But the real question is what happens in the recovery phase. Do we just go back to business as usual?” Any respite is likely to be outweighed by the pause in climate-related policies. Coronavirus arrived just as the climate movement appeared to be gathering momentum. In 2019 both the UK and France agreed to net zero emissions targets, Greta Thunberg became a household name, and central bankers began to talk about “climate stress tests” and “green quantitative easing”. Nowhere was this shift more visible than in Europe, where the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, listed a green deal and a goal for Europe to be carbon neutral by 2050 as her top priorities. But in a world shaped by pandemic, climate change now appears a more distant threat. The coronavirus outbreak has delayed most of the big climate events and policy announcements expected this year. Ms Von der Leyen’s proposal for a new Climate Law, which would commit Europe to net zero emissions by 2050, has been bogged down in a parliament that is now meeting virtually, and seems likely to be delayed.
FT 14th April 2020 read more »
At this time of crisis, the immediate issue is to solve the health and economic emergencies, and we salute the heroes of the medical and logistics services who are getting us through. However, when the crisis passes, a new world needs to be built, and COVID-19 has the potential to be the midwife of the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. The crisis is likely to bring forward peak demand for fossil fuels as a whole (first coal, then oil then gas), and weakens the lobbying power of incumbents. It creates space for policymakers to put in place a sustainable energy system and so enables the clean energy revolution to continue. In the midst of the chaos and despair that we face, this is a beacon of hope for the future.
Carbon Tracker 7th April 2020 read more »
The global nuclear industry’s already established robust safety culture is helping related organizations to act fast and modify their processes during the COVID-19 pandemic, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is providing support to fourteen countries situated in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. It is offering diagnostic kits, equipment and training in a nuclear-driven diagnostic technique called real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Measures have been taken to screen nuclear power plant (NPP) workers and isolate those who show COVID-19 positive symptoms through temperature checks to detect fever. All countries have advised their staff to work remotely and not on-site, hence aiding with social distancing measures.
Global Data 14th April 2020 read more »
Recovery from coronavirus must reckon with climate change. The current and urgent focus properly needs to be flattening the curve and saving lives. Yet even as this overriding priority absorbs us, governments now need to be thinking about how to support the strongest possible recovery as we emerge from this crisis. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, underscores we are in both a health and economic crisis. In dealing with the former we cannot lose a generation to the latter. Reckoning with climate change will support a strongest possible recovery. The threat of climate change that is driving global action against it has not gone away. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic is a harbinger of climate disasters to come and the resilience we need to build into our systems – including health – to deal with what we know will be the adverse impacts of climate change.
Guardian 14th April 2020 read more »
Government is about to spend a fortune on post-Covid recovery. Here’s how they should do it – Dr Richard Dixon. We are not even at the peak of Covid-19 cases in the UK yet already people are talking about when we can get things back to normal. But was ‘normal’ so great? From child poverty to climate change, from excessive corporate profits to a crisis in mental health, what we had wasn’t that wonderful for many people. After the 2008 recession, the UK Government sanctioned the creation of more than £600 billion of new money, in a number of rounds of quantitive easing. But this absolutely huge amount of money aimed mostly just to put things back the way they were, with the added bonus of years of austerity. The coronavirus pandemic has meant a fundamental change to the way our society works, and a re-examination of our own personal values and ideas of what’s really important. There is a narrow opportunity to make this add up to building something different instead of rebuilding the same old failing system.
Scotsman 13th April 2020 read more »