Coronavirus has changed the way we live and work. One important aspect where Covid-19 has strongly impacted our world is environment. According to the International Energy Agency, global industrial greenhouse-gas emissions is expected to be about 8% lower in 2020 than they were in 2019. It will be the largest annual drop since the second world war. People have noticed rivers are flowing cleaner, sky is blue and air is pure. Ozone layer is healed to certain extent. Overall, it is helping slowdown the process of climate change.
Interestingly, many analysts have written about impact of lessened activities on our environment, mostly positive. But how much will it help in reducing the climate change? Our ambitious goal, as per the Paris Agreement, is climate warmer only by 1.5 degree Celsius than what it was before the Industrial Revolution. But, just this pandemic will not help us control climate change. Reduced flights, trains and buses are temporary. Unless we adopt it as a lifestyle. The way most of the leaders and businessmen are speaking shows there will be burst of activities as soon as the situation normalises.
We need to learn from the newly acquired experience that without using lot of energy and fuel, we can work. There will be certainly requirement of production and manufacturing activities to be started at the earliest. But what about rationalising them? Do we again need to go back to crazy shopping sprees? Or we can buy only what is necessary? Morning till night running around for meetings? Or we can deal with many important issues through emails, calls and WhatsApps?
Shall we use this opportunity to think about the most vulnerable people on the earth? Shall we care for the future generations which will have no chance to reverse the damage we have caused to the climate till now? Of course, we all are paying for the collective sins of our forefathers. Shall we add to them? In fact we have added a lot in last fifty years. Next fifty years will be decisive for the existence of life on earth.
It does not need us to be an environmentalist to understand a simple fact that creation of various species is not in our hand. We are yet not able to control one virus, which has infected more than 5.5 million people as of today. Our whole scientific community has still not reached to an assuring stage of developing a full-proof vaccine against this one kind of virus. This should be enough for us to assess our limitations. Anything gone out of control will cost us more than our imagination.
Let’s pledge to avoid adding unnecessary carbon by our activities. It is not the need of humankind which has led us to climate change, but its our greed to have more, beyond our necessities. We can hide in home to protect against corona, but that won’t save us against climate, if it goes wrong.