Global CO2 emissions dropped sharply during lockdown. Factories were closed, populations were stuck at home, airplanes were grounded. Air and water quality also improved in many places. In Venice, for example, water quality improved and fish were even spotted in the canals. Scientists, however, warn that this improvement will be a temporary “blip” unless a green recovery is prioritised.

Nevertheless, people have seen alternatives are possible. Perhaps the biggest environmental benefit of the lockdown is that we saw nature can recover. Nobody wants lockdowns as a solution to environmental problems, but lessons can be learned. For example, Greenpeace in Germany has called for more people to be allowed to work from home. If 25% of employees teleworked regularly, 1.6 million tons of CO2 emissions could be prevented in Germany per year. Fewer commuters means fewer emissions. Will that be a convincing argument?

On the other hand, might the environment be sacrificed for the economy? The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In Europe, the presidents of the Czech Republic and Poland have already asked the European Commission to postpone the implementation of the EU’s “European Green Deal”, which aims to make the bloc climate-neutral by 2050.

Has coronavirus helped the environment? Should the pandemic recovery plan try to help us “build back better” when it comes to environmental protection? Or will the economy be prioritised? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers!

Image Credits: Bigstock © Nosnibor137

9 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Simone Mamo

    This is an opportunity to change our way of doing things for aore environmentally friendly way. Just rushing to get things back to what they were before is not going to help future generations of Europeans. Why not try the example given by New Zealand, where the people’s well-being comes before the economy.

  2. avatar

    Win win solutions. They exist or can be produced. How about presenting specific issues on the matter and collect the best ideas from the crowd’s wisdom?

  3. avatar

    Dunno. Ask China, they’re in charge now.

  4. avatar

    The true answer is here: and EU institutions do not have any unconditional funding to fossil fuel, but most EU countries do. So the answer is 50-50. The question is: why that 50% for fossil fuels is still there, today?

  5. avatar
    catherine benning

    Has coronavirus helped the environment?

    Only if you believe the extinction of mankind will save the planet! Then perhaps you could go along that line.

  6. avatar

    Yes, when was lockdown in China there wasn’t so many bad gases in the air.

  7. avatar

    It is great when students do not come to class as it helps uses, less transport;

  8. avatar

    Lockdown has been very positive for the environment, the emissions have decreased a lot. Now, the habits are still changing and still have to change to try to reduce our carbon footprint and help the environment.

  9. avatar

    Maybe it was more the policies and the habits around the coronavirus crisis that change and help the environment to recover

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