Quarantine is not enough to fight climate change
The expected reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions for 2020 is lower than the Paris Agreement’s targets.
The quarantine due to COVID-19 health crisis seemed, at first, a chance for the environment to breath, but the truth is that it will not be enough to help our plant’s get through it’s great environmental problems.
During these weeks of activity halt, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been reduced, but not enough to meet the objectives established in the Paris Agreement. It is estimated that this year, due to the pandemic, the reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions may be lowered by 2 billion tons, an estimate equivalent to 5.5% of last year’s world total. However, to get to the global temperature increase limit of 1.5 ° C agreed in Paris, global emissions should fall by 7.6% each year this decade. In other words, we may be facing the highest annual drop so far, but it continues to be insufficient.
The experts from TEMA, a consultancy specialist in industrial safety and environment, and that regularly calculates companies and activities’ carbon footprint, explain that these calculations are an estimative. To know the real impact, it will be necessary to analyze the world production drop with the GHG levels measured at the recording stations over the next few months.
Pollutants that affect health
One of the most visible effects of the quarantine has been in the air quality, directly related to the reduction in transport, as Héctor Cano, an expert at TEMA, explains: “We must differentiate between greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that directly affect health. The interruption in the transport system has generated a sharp drop in pollutants, which is what we see in the air, but regarding the Carbon Footprint, as well as the transport, industry plays a big role and it has not reduced its activity so much”.
In addition, it is expected that with the quarantine’s ending and the progressive reactivation of the economy, CO2 emissions will return to their usual quotas and that this year’s carbon level in the atmosphere will increase again. Therefore, in TEMA they remind to reduce the Carbon Footprint it is necessary a long-term commitment from all parts of society, since all activities, from those associated with large production centers to those of any particular individual, generate Greenhouse Emissions