Guardian: Could the Covid Lockdown have Helped Save Us from Climate Change?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Guardian, the Covid lockdown brought “heart warming” images of sheep grazing in a deserted children’s playground, and gave us a glimpse of what might be possible under a future Climate lockdown.

Could Covid lockdown have helped save the planet?

Slowdown of human activity was too short to reverse years of destruction, but we saw a glimpse of post-fossil fuel world

Jonathan Watts@jonathanwatts
Tue 29 Dec 2020 18.00 AEDT

hen lockdown began, climate scientists were horrified at the unfolding tragedy, but also intrigued to observe what they called an “inadvertent experiment” on a global scale. To what extent, they asked, would the Earth system respond to the steepest slowdown in human activity since the second world war?

Environmental activists put the question more succinctly: how much would it help to save the planet?

The respite was too short to reverse decades of destruction, but it did provide a glimpse of what the world might feel like without fossil fuels and with more space for nature.

Wildlife did not have time to reclaim lost territory but it had scope for exploration. Alongside apocalyptic images of deserted roads, the internet briefly buzzed with heartwarming clips of sheep in a deserted playground in Monmouthshire, Wales, coyotes on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, wild boar snuffling through the streets of Barcelona, and deer grazing not far from the White House in Washington DC. Wildflowers flourished on roadsides because verges were cut less frequently.

But the gains were short-lived. Once lockdown eased, traffic surged back and so did air pollution. In a survey of 49 British towns and cities, 80% had contamination levels that were now the same or worse than before the pandemic. Elsewhere, sightings of distant mountain peaks and wild animals are fading in the memory.

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I must admit the sheep were kind of cute. But I don’t find anything heart warming about children cowering in misery indoors, unable to play because everyone is frightened of catching a deadly disease. Nor do I find anything “heart warming” about people who advocate extending this misery for the foreseeable future.

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via Watts Up With That?

December 30, 2020 at 04:54PM

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