By B. Zarzur
It goes without a doubt that the current crisis is one of the worst in history, with death tolls going up and stocks declining, the pandemic seems to have brought only destruction. However, with the virus bringing a halt to human activities, such as traveling and simply leaving the house; emissions have fallen off a precipice. Clear canals in Venice. Closed industries in China. Purer air. Could this be a positive effect of the virus? How long will the decrease of emissions last? And is it even worth it?
Some of positive outcomes:
If we look at only the economic side of the situation a clear conclusion is drawn: an economic crisis. With demands plunging down, a collapse in the stock market is inevitable. But how is the economy linked to the emissions?
The biggest contributor to the rise of emissions are greenhouse gases, which factories emit, and evidently, under lockdown, emissions have taken the pattern of the stocks, and fallen. If factories are no longer open, emissions are tumbling. But what about when the factories reopen? What happens when the economy gets back on its feet? What then?
Although only time will tell, it is most likely that companies will try to gain what they have lost. With this in mind, how far are companies willing to go in order to reverse the damage done? Could this mean that their production rates will surpass how much they were producing a year ago? And undoubtedly, if this happens (which is very likely), emissions will go up, and may even exceed the hypothetical value emitted if it weren't for lockdowns.
Another factor to consider is the effect of the economic crisis on the majority, and not only company leaders. If being sustainable is usually a more expensive option, a choice must be made. What will most of the population choose after the downfall of the economy? With peoples’ wallets still recovering, the choice to be sustainable comes heavily taxed.
Will the economic relapse give out more emissions than the value lost? Will our situation be worse than ever? Only time, (and politicians) will tell.