Corona: Up- and Downsides for Sustainability

Besides the numbers of death those infected and recovered which are published daily, there are also economic and climate- relevant numbers in discussion.

On the one hand, the economy should be started up again as quickly as possible and brought back to the state it was in before the crisis, on the other hand voices are becoming louder and louder that the money spend to benefit the economy and the reconstruction must be invested in a way that the world will be able to achieve climate goals and become more sustainable than before the crisis.

voices are becoming louder saying the money spend to save the economy from corona must be invested in a way that the world will be able to achieve climate goals.

As I wrote in my last blog post, we can currently see how nature recovers as soon as we stop air pollution.

The reports that describe the up- and downsides of the Corona crisis in terms of the climate made me collect and to divide them into opportunities and risks.

Some opportunities can also be seen as risks and vice versa. The division was based on my personal assessment.

Down sides for the climate 

  • Climate crisis could take a back seat because the economical loss has to be made up
  • Environmental protection measures are reduced or paused for the benefit of the economy and therefore the data falsified
  • Delaying/stopping investments in sustainable technologies might slow down the implementation of more sustainable solutions
  • The tons of CO2 saved during the Corona crisis become overrated
  • Economic stimulus packages can also have a negative impact on the climate (see scrappage bonus in Germany after the 2009 crisis).
  • Trump suspends plans for consumption in the car industry
  • The climate summit in Glasgow was postponed in Europe and therefore the decisions and discussions postponed 
  • Major projects to gather environmental data have been postponed or canceled over concerns that teams of researchers working together will spread the Covid-19 virus
  • There are already signs that Beijing will rain down cash on carbon-intensive infrastructure projects, as happened after the global recession in 2008, and again in 2015.
 
 

Upsides for the climate

  • Scientists can be heard and trusted again, virologists have proven their competence and were taken seriously
  • Governments act more and more based on facts and derive measures from them
  • The way out of the corona crisis can be used to promote climate-friendly and sustainable economic structures. Depending on what the funds from the economic packages are spent after the crisis. At the same time, that would be a great opportunity to promote climate-friendly technologies.
  • Role model South Korea: the government presented the “Green Deal” during the crisis, and by 2050 it is to make the eighth largest climate polluter in the world greenhouse gas neutral. This would make Korea’s way out of the corona crisis climate-friendly.
  • The global health emergency demonstrates the cause-and-effect relationship that drives global warming.
  • Opportunity to rethink current models of business and to shape a new economic start on a more sustainable and future-proof basis.

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