Turn the Corner of World Environment into Covid-19 Pandemic

Joy Chandra Das

The climate is an integral component of human and animal health. COVID-19 is a global health challenge in the twenty-first century. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and its spread to regional countries and nowadays affecting more than 210 countries. COVID-19 is affecting the lives of millions of people and also the environment. The CO2 and various types of chemical gases emissions and human mobility have been reduced, which improves air quality and encourages wild animals to come out and explore the cities. Scientists have confirmed that air quality in certain regions has improved in recent weeks as industries, aviation and other means of transportation stop, air pollution is reduced countries severely affected by the virus, such as China, Italy, Spain and USA.

The worldwide disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous impacts on the environment and the climate. The considerable decline in planned travel has caused many regions to experience a large drop in air pollution. In china lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions, which saved at least 77000 lives over two months. Other positive impacts on the environment include governance systems controlled towards sustainable energy transition and other goals related to environmental protection.

Air Quality

Due to the corona virus out break’s impact on travel, industry, many regions and the planet as a whole experienced a large drop in air pollution. Reducing air pollution can reduce both climate change and covid-19 risks but it is not yet clear which types of air pollutions are common risks to both climate change and covid-19. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air reported that methods to contain the spread of corona virus, such as quarantines and travel bans resulted reduce carbon emissions and air dust particles.

Carbon Emissions

The daily global carbon emissions during the lockdown measures in early April fell by 17% and could lead to an annual carbon emissions decline of up to 7%, which would be the biggest drop since World War II according to the researchers. They ascribe these decreases mainly to the reduction of transportation usage and industrial activities. However, it has been noted that rebounding could diminish reductions due to the more limited industrial activities. Despite of this the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was the highest ever recorded in human history in May 2020.I think  “a pandemic is the worst possible way to reduce emissions” and that “technological, behavioral, and structural change is the best and only way to reduce emissions”. The world’s demand for fossil fuels has decreased by almost 10% amid coronavirus measures. During the pandemic many people have started cycling and bike sales surged.

Seismic Noise Reduction

Seismologists have reported that quarantine, lockdown, and other measures to mitigate COVID-19 have resulted in a mean global high-frequency Seismic noise reduction of 50%.This study reports that the noise reduction resulted from a combination of factors including reduced traffic/transport, lower industrial activity, and weaker economic activity. The reduction in seismic noise was observed at both remote seismic monitoring stations and at borehole sensors installed several hundred meters below the ground. The study states that the reduced noise level may allow for better monitoring and detection of natural seismic sources, such as earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Public Health Effects

During the coronavirus pandemic, many workers are without jobs, public school students are preparing for online classes, and everyone is being asked to wear masks and to social distance. This ongoing health crisis also appears to be having an impact on the environment.  Masks make a difference, it is one of the primary and fundamental tools that we have, while the masks have the benefit of helping protect people from the illness. Besides, masks and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE’s being discarded in a haphazard manner. The litter includes masks and gloves. Everything on the ground ends up in the river. Anyone throw it out on the side of the road, that is not where it stays is going to wash it into a drain and it’s going to head straight into the nearest river. This pollution includes the PPE people are using to stay safe during the pandemic.

The pandemic has kept a lot of people home from work and social distancing to stand apart from strangers. When confronting viral outbreaks or climate change, however, policy procrastination can be tragic. The spread of COVID-19 and the changes in our climatic system are ruled by non-linear dynamics. That means that delayed responses get disproportionately more expensive: in the US, starting social distancing one week earlier could have avoided an estimated 55% of deaths (36,000) between mid-March and early May.

I think mentally it can give us a boost also when the world seems kind of heavy and hectic and a little scary and wean know we are taking steps to at least be environmentally friendly.

Changing Anthropology

Public in a uniform format, Almost people across the world had to change the way they live, the way they work – with many facing loss of income – commute, buy food, educate their children and other energy-consuming behaviors. It’s critical for us to better understand how future societal disruptions and catastrophes could affect interactions among the people and behaviors and other systems that serve society. Understanding the human response, it’s a key factor in understanding how the pandemic’s effects play out is its influence on human behavior and decision making. Human behavior contributes to, but is also affected by changes in the Earth system, and COVID-19 is creating new challenges for ensuring people and corporations act to protect the planet.


In the early days of the pandemic, many political leaders had the tendency to delay decisive policy action until it seemed inevitable. However, politicians cannot be blamed alone for initial policy paralysis. At least in democratic systems, the action space of policymakers is always constrained by the support of the public. We the public, however, are psychologically ill-equipped to understand the gravity of abstract threats like climate change. The virus, abstract in the beginning when it seemed still confined to the city of Wuhan. Climate change has thus far failed to attract a similar level of alertness. Indeed, what society is willing to do seems to depend crucially on how ‘bad’ we think it will get

The pandemic has also impacted environmental policy and climate diplomacy, as the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference was postponed to 2021 in response to the pandemic after its venue was converted to a field hospital. This conference was crucial as nations were scheduled to submit enhanced nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement. The pandemic also limits the ability of nations, particularly developing nations with low state capacity, to submit nationally determined contributions, as they are focusing on the pandemic.

Time highlighted three possible risks: that preparations for the November 2020 Glasgow conference planned to follow the 2015 Paris Agreement were disrupted; that the public would see global warming as a lower priority issue than the pandemic, weakening the pressure on politicians; and that a desire to “restart” the global economy would cause an excess in extra greenhouse gas production.

However the drop in oil prices during the coronavirus recession could be a good opportunity to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies, according to the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. Carbon Tracker argues that China should not stimulate the economy by building planned coal-fired power stations, because many would have negative cash flow and would become stranded assets. The United States’ Trump administration suspended the enforcement of some environmental protection laws via the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the pandemic. This allows polluters to ignore some environmental laws if they can claim that these violations were caused by the pandemic.

World Economics

Climate change is harder to defeat politically, although easier to tackle economically. On the bright side, while these transformations would last longer, they would not be as disruptive to the economy: the IMF (2020) predicts a 4.9% contraction of the global economy in 2020, while the European Commission assumes that GDP in the euro area will even drop by 8.7%. In comparison, a 0.06% reduction in annual global consumption growth over this century that will be compromised for achieving the Paris Agreement (IPCC 2014) seems negligible. Yes, economists are currently asking to direct huge sums of tax money from the COVID-19 economic stimulus packages into climate-friendly investments, but in the long-run many of those measures may pay for themselves. In a recent survey, economic experts demonstrated how certain green policies could outperform conventional stimulus packages in getting pandemic-ridden economies back on track.

The researchers note that although many of the initial impacts of COVID sheltering, such as clear skies resulting from reduced pollutant emissions, could be perceived as beneficial to the environment, the longer-term impacts – particularly related to the economic recession – are less clear. To understand the impacts across both short and long timescales, they propose focusing on cascading effects along two pathways: energy, emissions, climate and air quality; and poverty,  globalization, food and biodiversity.

Some of the pandemic’s most lasting impacts on climate and air quality could occur via insights it provides into the calculation of policy parameters that measure the value that individuals and society place on different environmental trade-offs. The COVID-19 crisis is making these tradeoffs more explicit, the researchers point out. This is because governments, communities and individuals are making historic decisions reflecting underlying preferences for current and future consumption, as well as the tradeoff between different types of economic activity and individual and collective risk.  [Erupted from Stanford University]

The Socio-Environmental Effects

COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity to study policy interventions designed to prevent socio-environmental damage, according to a Stanford-led paper. The results could help vulnerable people weather poverty shocks from COVID-19, and provide a deeper understanding of how and where poverty and environmental degradation are most tightly linked.

COVID-19 and climate change share a marked similarity: the worst damage is only averted when society commits to decisive and early action in the face of a seemingly abstract threat. There are good reasons to believe climate change will be even harder to defeat, even though – or precisely because – there is more time to confront it. This column argues that the current pandemic is an exceptional opportunity to understand where the real challenges lie for progression on climate action – in garnering political will and public support. It provides key policy suggestions for the next wave of climate action. 

Studying policy interventions designed to prevent socio-environmental damage – such as the role of poverty in driving deforestation – could also help vulnerable people weather poverty shocks from COVID-19 by providing a deeper understanding of how and where poverty and environmental degradation are most tightly linked. The researchers propose using the kinds of solution such as payments for protection of natural resources are effective in staving off deforestation, over-fishing and other environmental damages. After all environmental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a lesson for the future.


On balance, there are reasons to believe that climate change will be even harder to defeat than the COVID-19 pandemic. We will probably resume some semblance of normalcy in a post-pandemic world once an effective vaccine and treatment protocol have emerged. Stabilizing the climate, however, requires more lasting transformations that need to be implemented long before climate change reaches catastrophic dimensions. 

Author is a student of Environmental Science and Engineering at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh – 2224, Bangladesh, Email: joychandra.bd@gmail.com 

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