Clean Climate or Cleaner Climate? What Will the Post-COVID Environment Look Like?
By admin May 19, 2020

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Due To Coronavirus Lockdown, Delhi NCR See Clear Blue Skies As Air Pollution Drops : News Photo

The climate is cleaner and greener these days. So, is the environment making a comeback? From Delhi to Beijing, the  COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in cleaner skies as emissions drop to record low levels. But will it last once COVID-19 subsides and human/industrial activity ticks back up?  The answer is a little complicated. Let’s consider what is happening and what could happen after lockdown.

For the time being, it is worth marveling at the miracle taking place across the world. As this Guardian article points out: “It is a lockdown silver lining being repeated across the world, as toxic megacities such as Bangkok, Beijing, São Paulo and Bogotá, where varying coronavirus restrictions have been imposed, all reported an unprecedented decline in pollution…In Delhi, air quality index (AQI) levels are usually a severe 200 on a good day (anything above 25 is deemed unsafe by World Health Organization). During peak pollution periods last year they soared well into a life-threatening 900 and sometimes off the measurable scale. But as Delhi’s 11m registered cars were taken off the roads and factories and construction were ground to a halt, AQI levels have regularly fallen below 20. The skies are suddenly a rare, piercing blue. Even the birdsong seems louder.”

It is a welcome sight but will this “Climate Comeback” last and are the clean skies here to stay? Unfortunately, it is unlikely that environment will stay clean and green. In the short term — as lockdown measures are relaxed — human and industrial activity will naturally lead to higher emissions. The skies may not be quite as blue anymore. But governments and industry have a golden opportunity to implement a series of key measures (incentivizing industry to commit to emissions goals via green bonds, extending or forgiving loans to businesses that commit to green initiatives; investing in retrofit and Cleantech projects, etc) that can put us back on track. Keep in mind that the “new normal” is very hard to predict right now and, at the end of the day, COVID-19 will have the final say. If there is a resurgence in the coming months, the picture will be a little bit more complicated. Nonetheless, government and business can and should still take the necessary steps to rebuild in a greener way and not repeat the mistakes and missteps of the past.

Editor’s Note: This is just the first in a new series (#TBGreenRecovery) that we will continue to revisit and update over the next few months. TBG’s COVID-19 Response Team is ready to support governmental agencies, institutions and corporations.

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Photo Credit: Hindustan Times / Getty Images

Thanks for sharing !

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