Is Coronavirus Connected to Climate Change?

  • AUTHOR: isbah
  • POSTED ON: May 4, 2020

Due to coronavirus, other global problems have just sort of moved into the background and for now, the government and authorities are pretending that other issues have ceased to exist.

Hunger, climate change, water shortage, the use of arms and ammunition are just some of the issues that the world was dealing with before the pandemic hit us and while it should be our number one priority, other problems are getting harder to ignore with each day.

Source: Oxford Student

If we talk about climate change, then there is no scientific evidence that connects coronavirus with this issue. However, this does not mean that they are both entirely independent. Researchers have found parallels between coronavirus and climate change and the longer the virus is present in the world, the alterations it is bringing to the climate around the world will become clearer.

“In a way, coronavirus is just this sped up, extremely simple version of climate change,”
said Emily Atkin, a leading climate journalist in the U.S., whose newsletter and podcast focus on the intersection of coronavirus and climate.

Before coronavirus, we had a large group of people who did not believe in the evidence that hinted towards climate change. Atkin’s argument suggests that coronavirus helped in making people believe in science as they realized that rejecting it would not make the laws of nature go away.

 “If you cough, if you breathe, a virus spreads. Whether you like it or not. If you emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it’s a heat-trapping gas. It traps heat, whether you like it or not. There’s no workaround for these things,” she said.

Source: Technology Review

For years, researchers and scientists have warned about the damage that humans are causing to the Earth And how the visible consequences are closer than we think. Coronavirus also came with similar warnings. Now we did not know how big the concern was going to be because it proved to be a fast-moving virus but all the dormant diseases that are presently covered due to the lower temperatures always had a fair chance of resurfacing due to climate change.

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an internationally renowned climatologist at Texas Tech University. “I’ve been thinking more specifically about how we address risk. And how we tend to delay until it’s almost too late,” Hayhoe said. “And with coronavirus, we delayed a little bit too long but were still able to act. But because climate change plays out over a much longer time, by the time we reach that point where enough of the population sees it with their own eyes, it may be too late.”

Another common factor between both the problems is that they are both global issues. Yes, we can practice social distancing and take measures to curb the spread of the virus just like we can reduce individual carbon footprint to lessen the effect of climate change. However, the government intervention in both the scenarios becomes vital and until and unless action is taken on a large scale we would not be able to solve either of the problems.

Hayhoe said, “What the pandemic has taught us is something we knew but we forgot. And that is we are all intimately connected. We are all humans living on this earth. And that is what the pandemic has taught us. And that is exactly the perspective we need to understand why climate change matters and how each of us can help to fix it.”

Updated May 4, 2020
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