The reported worldwide reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels due to Covid-19 lockdowns shows what is possible with a concerted effort. Whilst NO2 is not a green house gas and will therefore not reduce global warming, it is a proxy for green house gas emissions. The pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors responsible for carbon emissions. Thus, the reductions recently seen in NO2 will see corresponding reductions in greenhouse gases.
Global warming is easy for populist leaders to dismiss as a hoax as it’s effects are not immediate. As a result, little international action is taken. The effects of the coronavirus are much more immediate and have therefore resulted in much more timely and decisive action to mitigate the effects. The recent reduction on NO2, whilst an unintended consequence, shows what concerted action can achieve.
Of course, whilst global warming is an issue that must be addressed, we don’t want lockdowns as the solution. However, some of the recent changes we have made to life styles (more working from home and reduction in face to face meetings for example) have shown benefits such as less time wasted commuting and more time with loved ones. And these changes have reduced global warming emissions. We therefore need to review the changes we have made to our lifestyles. Those that have not really inconvenienced us we should keep if they can reduce global warming.
Business leaders can play their part to help reduce global warming by setting frameworks to facilitate these beneficial changes to lifestyles. Homeworking should be actively promoted amongst organisations. In reality, there is little difference in hot desking and home working.
The most important things you can do to help protect yourself from COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the virus are:
- Washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more
- Coughing or sneezing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately
- Avoiding contact with your face
- Self-isolating if you have a new cough or a fever of more than 37.8°
Please do not hesitate to contact us during this time for any advice or if you are in need of our environmental consulting services. Call us on 01 276 1428 or email me at email@example.com.