Countries are under strict lockdowns in order to stop the spread of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. However, such stringent actions have experienced some unintended climatic benefits.
The shutdowns have contributed to a significant drop in pollutions and carbon emission in a few countries. For instance, the murky canals in Venice have started to get cleaner and clearer. In Italy, there is no boat traffic on waterways.
Scientists said that such situations could offer tough lessons on how to get prepared during destructive climatic changes.
Lead developer of the CoolClimate Network Christopher Jones said, “If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this.”
“We can help prevent crises in the future if we are prepared,” he added. “I think there are some big-picture lessons here that could be very useful.”
Globally, the coronavirus, aka COVID-19, has sickened more than 219,360 and killed 8,970 people so far. Some countries, including China and Italy, have been forced to shut down their borders.
There has been a significant decrease in harmful emissions due to temporary shutdowns.
Jones said, “Carbon dioxide is tied to industrial activity, electricity production and transportation, so anything that affects those sectors will impact greenhouse gases, as well.”
In China, the lockdown has contributed to a 25 percent drop in the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.
It has also been found that coal consumption at power plants reduced by 36 percent and industrial operations by 15 to 40 percent in some sectors.
There has been a drastic reduction in air pollution in China, according to pollution-monitoring satellites operated by NASA and the European Space Agency.
Air quality researcher at NASA Fei Liu said, “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic dropoff over such a wide area for a specific event.”
Italy has also experienced a dramatic reduction in air pollution due to the lockdown. In China and Italy, the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, which can irritate the lungs on inhalation and causes inflammation or asthma, have fallen precipitously.