What happens when half the world population is on lock down and the economy is on stand-by due to a global pandemic?

As last week’s several studies and news articles have shown, the COVID-19 crisis may have given global greenhouse gas emissions some well needed break. In fact, the Global Carbon Project has estimated that carbon dioxide emissions could fall by the largest amount since World War II due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

However, these improvements are tied to a global health emergency that has led to hundred of millions of people staying at home, with the consequent shutting of businesses, factories, and grounding airlines. Once confinement ends, emissions are expected to go back close to where they were.

But a momentary carbon emissions reduction is not the only positive effect this crisis has had on the environment, as it has been reported that nitrogen dioxide emissions have dropped over affected countries, like Italy; and the man-made seismic activity has decreased due to quarantine measures adopted worldwide.

Moreover, images across the globe have been shared showing how nature reclaims her spot and restores to normalcy during lockdown. People have been sharing pictures of wildlife returning to cities and clearer skies, like how Jalandhar woke up to a clear view of the Himalayas due to a decrease in air pollution, first time in years.

Yet, the question remains: how we ensure these positive changes prevail after we solve this current crisis?  To permanently reduce global warming, we need the same drastic system change and collective action that has come from fighting Coronavirus.

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