What does the Covid-19 Crisis means for Climate Change
ISRAEL21c online news magazine discussion with Prof. Alon Tal and Prof. Colin Price for Earth Day's 50th anniversary
On Wednesday, April 22, we celebrated Earth Day's 50th anniversary - an international day dedicated to the awareness and care for Earth's environment. On this remarkable occasion, ISRAEL21c online news magazine's editor Nicky Blackburn spoke about the perceived impact of the corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic on climate change with Prof. Alon Tal, Head of the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University, founder of environmental organizations and of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and with Prof. Colin Price, Head of the Department of Environmental Studies at the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University.
The discussion covered many intriguing questions that may affect the environment and humanity on a large scale. Since January 2020 we experienced intensive lockdowns at many countries, a sudden halt of economic activities and of global and local transportation, the closure of many organizations, schools and of commerce centers. Has this been good for the environment? Does the immense attention, and even fear of the Covid-19 pandemic overshadow the attention to climate change? Will it increase the undersanding of the global environmental crisis? Will governments take climate change more seriously or won’t they? What will the long term impact be on the planet?
These topics were covered with fascinating insights. As an example, there was much coverage in news channels of the reduction in air pollution, as was seen with dramatic images from NASA Earth Observatory. Yet Prof. Colin Price explained the distinction beween small particles and pollutants in the form of aerosols and the invisible greenhouse gases that have a much longer lifetime.
There is also a marked change in the attention and behaviour of people worldwide - hygiene and healthcare, consumption practices, travel and telecommuting - working and studying from home. Will these changes still hold true after the crisis is over?
The recent events show that we can all make an incredible change. Social solidarity is immense, people are confined to their homes and still participate in social, learning and volunteering activities on an amazing scale. The entire world has come together to deal with the crisis. There is now proof that we can do it and it provides much hope for the climate crisis as well.
We also learned that if we wait for the problem to manifest itself, it might be too late. Countries that responded early and swiftly, such as Taiwan, South Korea and Israel, have much lower levels of sickness and deaths from the pandemic. Countries that waited, experience much worse consequences. It is exacly the same with climate change. We need to learn from it now and act swiftly before it is too late. During the Covid-19 crisis we are all making short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits and we already see these benefits emerge. The same can be done with climate change. What can we do? watch the discussion to see for yourself.
You can watch the discussion on ISRAEL21c at the link below. Find out more about the long term impact of the corona virus (Covid-19) on our environment and discover how each one of us can make a difference to our world.