One can run a terrible risk of shortchanging the tragedy that comes from crises while looking for any positive outcomes.
With that said, I want to offer this item, understanding that some might think I am seeking to minimize the sadness being played out all over the world.
The coronavirus pandemic could possibly result in the most dramatic reduction in carbon emissions since World War II.
Reuters News Service reports: “I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 5 percent or more drop in carbon dioxide emissions this year, something not seen since the end of World War II,” (Rob) Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University in California, told Reuters in an email.
The cause of such a decline isn’t hard to figure out. Motor vehicle traffic is way down. Everywhere on Earth. China, where the pandemic originated and where air pollution has become almost legendary, reports remarkably clean air over major urban centers. The same is being said in India and in major European cities.
I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and I am quite certain that carbon emissions here are registering historic lows as millions of us around here are obeying stay at home directives issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.
As Reuters points out: But the improvements are for all the wrong reasons, tied to a world-shaking global health emergency that has infected more than 950,000 people — while shuttering factories, grounding airlines and forcing hundreds of millions of people to stay at home to slow the contagion.
Just a side note: The number of infected human beings has zoomed well past a million people since this article was published.
I am left now to wonder whether this result might persuade some notorious climate-change deniers to rethink their environmental idiocy. If we are seeing this singular positive result from this pandemic, it well might be a reduction in carbon emissions that — according to scientific research — contributes to the other existential threat to humanity: worldwide climate change.