Coronavirus Helping The Climate

As the human population of the world is going through it, nature is thriving.

 Throughout these last few months of chaos, panic, and isolation, the Coronavirus has impacted the environment just as much as it has the human population of the world, but in a more positive way.

   The waters of Venice, Italy are known to be murky, dirty and cloudy, but now they are as clear as ever, showing visibility to the fish in the canals. Venice is one of the top tourist destinations of the world, with 26 million to 30 million visitors per year. Tourism is the main reason the waters are so cloudy and dark, more specifically because the motorboats that polluted the waters are not being used. The water has never been more clear, and the clarity is a result of everyone staying inside, keeping safe from the virus. 

   As Venice is benefitting from this, so is China. The air pollution has dropped significant amounts in China. Satellite images from NASA and the European Space Agency have shown the reduction in emissions around the world, and have shown a major drop in nitrogen dioxide, a polluting gas. There has been a 10-30% drop in emissions, due to the lack of running car engines, power plants being in use, and other industrial plants.

   China has also had a drop in emissions from coal combustion. China is one of the worlds biggest producers and consumers of coal. Coal helps run much of their industry and it is used as a fuel source for many citizens. It is estimated that China consumed around 59% of coal for their energy in 2018. According to CREA analysis of WIND data, China’s big coal-fired power stations saw a 36% drop in consumption between February and March this year.

   A major goal may be met due to the lockdowns taking place during this virus. Some experts are claiming that countries might be able to meet their Paris Climate Accord goals because of the pandemic. The Paris Climate Accord is a 32-page document that sets a framework for global climate action. It aims to limit global temperature rise by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize support for climate change in mitigation and adaptation in developing nations, and many other goals. As the use of transportation and big production plants has come to a pause, emissions are also dropping, thus causing us to be closer to the emissions reduction targeted in the Paris Agreement. 

   Hopefully after the pandemic has halted and the world is back to normal, people will come out of isolation with a bigger appreciation for the planet. The lowering of emissions, clear waters of Venice, and clear air of New York City goes to show how much humans affect the environment. While humans did not need this “break”, nature definitely did.

The canals of Venice are clearer than ever.
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