The implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the environment

Global Voices contributor Andrew Kowalczuk is a green technology engineer and former biomedical researcher, talks about the implications for health, wildlife, and climate change in the post-Covid future.
He says, that although there was growing fascination of biodiversity during lockdown in the Covid-19 crisis, there has unfortunately been an increase in poaching in Africa, Central America, and other locales. Desperation gives the motive, and absence of ranger patrols in wildlife preserves gives the opportunity. Not just that, a sharp increase in deforestation in the Amazon basin in Brazil by clearance of land beginning around April of this year was also seen by direct observation and in satellite imagery.

Besides losing carbon dioxide sequestration, more intense fire seasons will result. And the loss of biodiversity is analogous, or synonymous, with the wildlife conservation question. Now with Covid-19, the difference today is that human overpopulation keeps encroaching further into natural environments, into more contact with previously exotic animals. That’s the lesson. What matters is that, in any case, prevention of future epidemics will depend on environmental responsibility. New viruses will continually emerge in nature.

He further suggests how the climate changes can be best met through policy interventions and international cooperation in science. In the short term, diplomacy on climate change policy has been somewhat interrupted by Covid. As for the economics, many gigawatts of renewably sourced electricity, which would have gone online in 2020, have been delayed in deployment. That said, the United States is expected, for the first time, to produce more electricity from renewables than from coal. Renewable energy can stimulate economic growth in the recovery from recession, in any nation. Especially as its production is decentralized.

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