Now that the largest contributors to pollution closed its doors against the coronavirus, the earth is now able to breathe better. Nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant coming from road traffic, dispersed by as much as 30% in major cities such as industrial Italy in four weeks. China, the world’s biggest polluter, emitted 25% less carbon in the same time period.
This year began with a series of environmental catastrophes: extended bushfire seasons, harvests simultaneously wilting, a series of volcanic eruptions and floods might refresh your memory. Recent lockdowns took out most of their risk. Which showed the world of what could happen if we simultaneously begin to act against these.
Researches prove that places with denser air pollution are more susceptible to higher coronavirus death rates. Moreover, climate experts believe that there’s only one way to stop further damage: a drastic change in energy resources. And 2020 looks like the best time to start.
It’s becoming more affordable…
Forward-looking policy frameworks led many countries to transition into sustainable energy for electricity. This includes turning to sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power. The pair has become the industry’s cheapest sources. Additionally, other renewable power sources plan to cut prices within a few years. It reached record-breaking capacity additions and it still continues to outgrow fossil fuels. Renewables have also been transitioning into developing nations since 2017.
… and even more accessible.
Due to the lack of demand for fossil fuels led by airline groundings and much less road traffic, renewable energy sources are set to account for 21% of electricity in the United States alone. Renewables have been more popular than fossil fuels in Western countries for the past five years. This was after the West realized that natural gas and coal play a major part in problematic carbon emissions. In fact, it accounted for nearly 75% of power capacity additions globally last year.
Corporates prefer fossils.
JPMorgan is one of the largest financial firms that stopped supporting coal companies, which instead aims for $200 billion in environmental and economic development agreements. However, it remains as the most significant fossil fuel financer. Moreover, coal is still a king fuel of southeast Asia. There’s no way these can change overnight. But the pandemic is showing remarkable signs of changes we can take to pursue this.
But its industry is collapsing.
When the world is in chaos, oil markets usually see higher demand and volatility in the market. But today’s disruption is different, and it’s not majorly caused by the coronavirus. The wealthiest oil-producing countries, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and now the United States are battling over oil supply and production as demand begins to crumble. The world is using about 25% less oil than it typically does, raising the possibility of a collapse.
Renewables aren’t immune, either.
Unfortunately, renewable supplies are as much of a victim of the coronavirus as any. Renewable energy is suffering its first slowdown as general demand for electricity decreases. Environment researchers think that we might reverse most of the progress we’ve made for renewable energy so far if we don’t begin transitioning for the long term. Otherwise, it could prompt another set of unforeseen disasters like those we’ve seen earlier this year.
The world is experiencing better air than it ever had in decades. Climate change deniers are starting to see the effect of better maintenance of airflow and lesser carbon emissions around the world. Including less unexpected tragedies and pollutants falling as much as 60% compared to the year before.
But environmental science and policy experts believe that this should keep going. If people don’t want to experience any more sudden forest fires or thick smog, they should work against its prevention together. Even after we’re all cured of the coronavirus, living in highly polluted areas could never assure us of its permanent departure.
But through solar panels, planting trees, or fewer car rides, everyone can do their own part in lessening greenhouse gasses everywhere. However, unless the larger, wealthier companies don’t do something about this, we’re bound to encounter something worse than COVID-19.