Coronavirus Coverage

Robert Kopp, the director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic may have caused the most abrupt decline in carbon dioxide emissions in history.

All over the world, scientists have seen the biggest decrease in overall pollution and CO2 emissions, and an overall increase in quality of air.

The global economic effects that have triggered shutdowns among the whole world due to the coronavirus pandemic has ultimately reduced greenhouse emissions for now. “But long-term measures are required to stabilize the climate” said Rutgers scientists. Many people throughout the world support the change in our habits and infrastructure in order to achieve a healthier planet, but unfortunately many people still refuse to accept that climate change is real, and this includes some of our world leaders who have the strongest say. Thankfully, Robert Kopp has spoken up about the direct correlation between carbon emissions, the shutdowns from the pandemic, and how large industries need to change in order to preserve the planet for the future.

Reduction in Carbon Emissions Across The World

(Numbers and statistics are according to CarbonBrief)

  1. China – Emissions dropped 25%
  2. India – Emissions projected to fall by 30%
  3. Worldwide – Emissions are projected to have a drop off of over 2,000 metric tons.

“This Isn’t Enough To Save The Future Though…”

Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to decline by 8% this year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Such a year-on-year reduction would be the largest in history, six times larger than the reduction that occurred in 2009 from the Great Recession, and twice as large as the combined total of all reductions since the end of World War II, according to IEA.

Robert Kopp stated, “To meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions would need to decline approx. 7.5% per year for the next 30 years.”

“With the global economic downturn, we may be looking at the most abrupt decline in carbon dioxide emissions in history this year, but this decline is almost immaterial,” Kopp said, according to a press release. “The climate doesn’t care about emissions in one year. It cares about the sum total of all emissions emitted across the years, so what matters for climate change is what happens next.”

Lockdowns have driven emissions downward, by creating the downturn in a fossil fuel-using economy and limiting people from driving. Rachael Shwom, associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology said, “As overall greenhouse gas emissions go down with overall economic recession, households are faced with a new consumption pattern. The carbon footprint of their travel is down to almost zero for many as they stay at home, not driving or flying for weeks or months at a time.”

“Household emissions from food, energy and water use will increase due to the containment of these activities in the home” Shwom went on to say. But the increase in residential demand for electricity is far outweighed by a decrease in commercial and industrial demand, according to the IEA.

Robert Kopp suggests that it is a critical time for people, and our world leaders to discuss future infrastructure investments to restart the economy, as we can now directly see how much large industries and commercial businesses contribute to world pollution and carbon emissions. There are different ways to achieve the same result and still care for the planet.

Effects of Climate Change Reported By NASA

(See Source: NASA)

  1. Temperatures will continue to rise.
  2. Frost Free Season and Growth Season will lengthen.
  3. Unpredictable precipitation patterns.
  4. More droughts and heat waves.
  5. Hurricanes will become stronger and more detrimental.
  6. Sea level will rise 1-4 feet by 2100.
  7. Arctic likely to become ice-free.

Investments towards future infrastructure should be taking into account of a trajectory toward net-zero greenhouse emissions, and not just the amount of money it can generate.

Shwom said “the decarbonization of electricity and transportation systems will be key infrastructure investments to fuel economic recovery.”

“What matters is not the fact that emissions have declined (due to) the temporary economic slowdown,” Kopp said. “What matters is how we recover from the slowdown and whether, as we start throwing around trillions of dollars to restore the economy, we’re restoring the 20th century fossil fuel-powered economy or trying to get upon a pathway toward decarbonization.”

Kopp went on to state, “the climate crisis does not pause with the economic crisis, as people continue to dump greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere that cause harm for decades to centuries.” And frankly the climate crisis does not pause at any time. It will continue to grow worse if us people continue to abuse it, support the abuse of carbon emissions, and our world leaders shy away from changing our infrastructure for a safer future.

“We are investing trillions of dollars right now, so when you invest money, you’re making decisions about putting that money in infrastructure,” Kopp said. “You’re making decisions about what sort of society you want to live in for multiple decades to come. And so, there’s both the fact that the climate problem isn’t going away if we don’t take action and the fact that we are making decisions that are not just about the emergency, but about the longer-term direction of society. And so, if we don’t think about climate change, that’s the decision that’s going to be with us for a long time.”

Ways To Help Fight Climate Change

(Sources of C02 Emissions from United States Environmental Protection Agency)

  1. Veganism or Vegetarian Diets – Commercial agriculture and large industries in the agriculture field alone contributes about 10 percent of carbon emissions. Which may seem like nothing, or something not to care much about. But that is merely the problem Kopp speaks up about. It is all of our duty on this earth to contribute and make sure we live in a clean, decarbonized world. Even the smallest numbers are still dramatic when it comes to climate change effects. And frankly, as agriculture has produced so much carbon emission, the industry hurts itself, as carbon emissions result in droughts and unpredictable rainfall. Scientists argue, going vegan is one of the easiest things we can control. According to Joseph Poore, research director and lead author of a new study from July 2019, a vegan diet can redeuce one person’s carbon footprint by 73%! He also concluded that if everyone worldwide was to just stop eating meat products alone, the area of land used for global agriculture could be reduced by around 75%. Resulting in more room for crops and natural sources of life.
  2. Electric Cars – Transportation leads when it comes to carbon emissions. Electric cars cut down carbon emissions tenfold. An electric car produces absolutely no carbon emissions when driving it. Manufacturing electric cars does in fact produce carbon emissions, but data analysis has compared the overall numbers of CO2 emissions during a full life cycle (production to when the car dies and is recycled) between diesel, gas, and electric cars and has found electric cars overall produce significantly less carbon emissions.
  3. Solar Energy – Solar Energy has been advancing for over the past ten years and has become more and more efficient within each year of its progress. Hundreds of thousands of scientists across the world have voted for sustainable solar energy and making our electric grid work solely off of renewable energy. Everything that runs on fossil fuels must come to an end and be turned over to electronic power in order to actually cause a gradual reduction in carbon emissions.
  4. Demand Sustainability – It is our right to be educated and make the decision of what our future holds. As scientists around the world continue to help this effort, many world leaders refuse to accept new ways of sustainable energy. Join the scientists who work to achieve a better future for you and I, and the generations to come by speaking up to your friends, family, neighbors, and most importantly, leaders in your community and nation.

 

Hollywood Kyle is the Digital Content Producer and Production Director of Mix 99.5 WJBR. Being a Delaware local, Kyle takes pride in his hometown and has had a love for music since a young age. Hollywood Kyle joins the Mix Morning Show for abstract thoughts and ideas during "Hollywood Kyle" segment around 9:40am Monday thru Friday.