Before you do anything else, watch this stunning program with Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewing Katharine Hayhoe…



The Coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic is having at least one positive effect on the planet: it reduced pollution and carbon emissions, but the reductions were not even close to enough, and they were temporary. Not only temporary, but the result of economic hardship and contractions that many hope will soon come to an end. Once they do, carbon emissions could resume at record levels.

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 6.4% percent in 2020 because of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, with 13% being attributed to the U.S., compared with an average increase of 1.4 percent every year from 2010 to 2019.

In the Spring of 2020, the effects of the pandemic were immediate and astonishing. Skies cleared across areas of China usually beset by smog and air pollution. CO2 emissions in China declined 25 percent in the last week of February, for example. Meanwhile, scientists across the globe are tracking and quantifying meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases and carbon emissions due to the pandemic across Europe and North America. One unfortunate consequence came to light as oil prices dropped significantly — causing the price of making “virgin” plastic cheaper than using “recycled” plastic.

The direct link between the worldwide economy and CO2, and greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution is nothing new. The last time emissions and pollution came close to flat-lining was during the last economic crisis in 2008-2009.

The good news is that this time, as then, leading scientists hailed the news as clear evidence that it is within humanity’s power to reduce worldwide carbon emissions. But economic crises are not how we want to combat climate change and, anyway, once this coronavirus crisis is contained, the world’s carbon-emitting economic engines are sure to crank up, offsetting the short-term CO2 emissions reductions. Observers also point out that the crisis will drain key government and private sector resources that are needed to make the transformation to sustainable and clean energy, while the falling costs of oil and other fossil fuels will doubtless discourage investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and, instead, encourage the use of carbon-spewing oil and gas.

You might want to listen to Bill Gates in his TED talk on the subject, hosted by TED’s curator-in-chief, Chris Anderson, and current affairs curator, Whitney Pennington Rodgers, recorded March 24, 2020. And, if you have kids, here is a project for kids to take action and influence congress in supporting clean energy and climate justice initiatives as legislation moves through the government in response to Covid-19.

The hardships of the pandemic and the rise of populism, seeking to sow doubt about the seriousness of global warming and the role of human activity in causing it, has led to dozens of climate rules being rolled back during COVID-19.

The conclusion of a report published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration takes the position that the current pandemic is a dress rehearsal for climate change. In other words, many policy makers and scientists are now both lamenting and stressing that the pandemic clearly shows that only through tough government intervention will carbon emissions be cut at the rate needed to stop the warming of the planet.

Governments are moving “faster than we ever were,” the lead 2015 Paris Agreement negotiator, Christiana Figueres, told the New York Times at the end of 2020. But the world as a whole remains dangerously behind schedule in slowing catastrophic climate change, according to a United Nations report released at the end of the year.

Coronavirus leads to decrease in CO2 emissions: Can it last? | DW News



Amazon emissions increased 18% last year as Covid drove online shopping surge

By Annie Palmer 08/01/22
Amazon’s carbon emissions jumped 18% last year, as the company reckoned with a pandemic-driven surge in e-commerce and grew its business to meet that extra demand. In its annual sustainability report issued Monday, Amazon said…
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Carbon pricing and COVID-19

By Daniel Nachtigall and Jane Ellis 03/10/22
This paper assesses the role of carbon pricing in a sustainable recovery from COVID-19. It tracks the policy changes in carbon pricing within OECD and G20 countries between January 2020 and August 2021 of the…
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We’re No More Serious about the Climate Crisis Than We Were before the Pandemic

By Samantha Montano 02/25/22
Disaster researchers are used to seeing train wrecks coming. We study the worst moments in human history—their warning signs, failures, destruction, pain, corruption and injustice—so that we can lessen the hurt. But the scale of…
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The pandemic has been great for electric car sales

By Anna Cooban 01/26/22
Electric vehicles grabbed a much bigger share of the global car market last year as sales more than doubled despite turbulent economic conditions and a severe shortage of computer chips.
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Societal shifts due to COVID-19 reveal large-scale complexities and feedbacks between atmospheric chemistry and climate change

By Joshua L. Laughner and others 11/12/21
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns caused significant changes to human activity that temporarily altered our imprint on the atmosphere, providing a brief glimpse of potential future changes in atmospheric composition. This event demonstrated key…
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New Museum Triennial Explores the Hidden Strengths of Soft Power

By Holland Cotter 11/04/21
The New Museum’s fifth Triennial exhibition, titled “Soft Water Hard Stone,” is largely a product of lockdown. Much of the work by 40 international artists and collectives was made during the past two pandemic-strapped years.…
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Pandemic Complicates Preparations for COP26 Climate Summit

By Somini Sengupta and Lisa Friedman 10/27/21
In a few weeks, an estimated 20,000 ministers, activists and executives from nearly every country in the world are set to descend on Glasgow to hammer out how to make progress on climate change.
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WHO’s 10 calls for climate action to assure sustained recovery from COVID-19

Countries must set ambitious national climate commitments if they are to sustain a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Green groups call for COP26 climate talks to be postponed due to COVID-19

By Susanna Twidel 09/08/21
 A coalition of more than 1,500 environmental groups on Tuesday called for major international climate talks due to begin next month to be delayed, saying access to them would be unequal.
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Using facial recognition on grizzlies, and more advances

By Annie Roth 09/07/21
Facial-recognition systems for humans are widely used by security services and law enforcement. Now there’s one for grizzly bears. The so-called BearID could enable researchers to track the animals across vast stretches of time and space. Identifying…
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How Wildfire Smoke Supercharges the Coronavirus

By Andrew Nikiforuk 09/01/21
All summer long millions of British Columbians and Albertans have lived under a grey shroud of wildfire smoke — the North American West’s new and most deadly form of air pollution. Our celebrated blue skies…
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Louisiana’s Covid Surge Complicates Its Response to Hurricane Ida

By Associated Press 08/29/21
As the Category 4 storm slammed the state, Gov. John Bel Edwards said that evacuating hospitals was not an option because of the high number of coronavirus patients.
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Coronavirus shows the limits of what personal choice can do for the climate

Coronavirus shutdowns have sent greenhouse gas emissions off a cliff. Early estimates project global emissions will decline by 5% to 8% by the end of the year—which might seem like a win for the climate.

COVID-19 climate lessons

Unprepared for a pandemic, can the world learn how to manage the bigger threat of climate disruption?

Global resilience system

The Global Resilience System (GRS) is a rapidly growing global aggregation of nested Resilience Systems (e.g., US Resilience System, Haiti Resilience System, Vietnam Resilience System, Japan Resilience System and their nested subsystems). These Resilience Systems…

10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change

The novel coronavirus, upending our world as we know it, is also changing how we consume energy and address climate change.

Coronavirus, climate change, and the environment

A conversation on COVID-19 with the director of Harvard University's Center of Climate, Health and the Global Environment.


UK citizens’ assembly shows big support for green covid-19 recovery

By Adam Vaughan   06/23/20  
Around four-fifths of a citizens’ assembly on climate change in the UK wants the government’s coronavirus economic recovery measures to also help the country meet its target of slashing carbon emissions to net zero.
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Emissions Are Surging Back as Countries and States Reopen

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich   06/17/20  
As the pandemic rages, the world is still far from getting global warming under control.
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Covid-19 pandemic is ‘fire drill’ for effects of climate crisis, says UN official

By Fiona Harvey   06/15/20  
Lise Kingo says social equality issues must be part of sustainable development agenda
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Science, the pandemic, and how the coming election is a crossroads for climate change

By Joel Stronberg   06/12/20  
The COVID-19 contagion shows once again the disdain President Trump and his administration have for science-based policies and actions. Over these past months Trump has suggested that the coronavirus would just go away with the…
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How carbon levels hit a record high even as emissions fell during coronavirus pandemic

By Dino Grandoni   06/05/20  
Greenhouse gas emissions have plunged since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Earth’s carbon dioxide levels are at their highest point in human history.
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Coronavirus: Sir David Attenborough reminds us about climate change

By Mel Evans   05/25/20  
Sir David Attenborough has shared his fear climate change has been 'swept' off the front pages by the coronavirus pandemic, as he called for a renewed...
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Rainforest Deforestation More Than Doubled Under Cover of Coronavirus

By Deutsche Welle   05/23/20  
As the COVID-19 virus was spreading around the world, deforestation in the world's rainforests rose at an alarming rate, the German arm of the World Wildlife...
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Steep fall in emissions during coronavirus is no cause for celebration

By Fiona Harvey   05/19/20  
Brief hiatus will make little difference to catastrophic levels of global heating, experts say
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One Crisis Doesn’t Stop Because Another Starts

By Bill McKibben   05/14/20  
Around the world, weary people in many countries have begun to chart the promising slide of daily coronavirus cases and deaths—less so in the United States, of course, where our leader has decided that we…
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Pandemic costs clean energy sector nearly 600,000 jobs

By Kelsey Tamborrino   05/14/20  
The clean energy sector has shed nearly 600,000 jobs since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and losses are expected to worsen in the coming months, according to a report released Wednesday by industry groups.
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US fossil fuel giants set for a coronavirus bailout bonanza

By Fiona Harvey   05/12/20  
Fossil fuel companies and coal-powered utilities in the US are set for a potential bonanza under federal government plans for a bond bailout, part of the rescue package for the coronavirus crisis.
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To Mask or Not? The Weighty Symbolism Behind a Simple Choice

By Judy Fahys   05/11/20  
For one side, masks represent an affront to liberty, signaling an overreaction to the pandemic that's been led by state governments and public health experts, and fueled by ivory-tower elitists. President Donald Trump's mask-less visit…
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Will the Coronavirus Crisis Trump the Climate Crisis?

By Steven Erlanger   05/09/20  
The battle over how to spend recovery funds — to quickly restore the old economy or invest in a greener one — will define the post-pandemic world.
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G.O.P. Coronavirus Message: Economic Crisis Is a Green New Deal Preview

By Lisa Friedman   05/08/20  
As the economy melts down, embattled conservatives are testing a political response: saying Democratic climate policies would bring similar pain.
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How Climate Change Is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease

by Abrahm Lustgarten   05/07/20  
A catastrophic loss in biodiversity, reckless destruction of wildland and warming temperatures have allowed disease to explode. Ignoring the connection between climate change and pandemics would be “dangerous delusion,” one scientist said.
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Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days

By Nichola Groom   05/05/20  
Electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro has exceeded coal-fired power in the United States for a record 40 straight days, according to a report based on U.S. government data released on…
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The Energy 202: It’s not just oil. The coronavirus crisis is hitting solar and wind work, too.

By Dino Grandoni   05/04/20  
The coronavirus crisis is not only battering the oil and gas industry. It’s drying up capital and disrupting supply chains for businesses trying to move the country toward cleaner sources of energy.
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Coronavirus is causing a flurry of plastic waste. Campaigners fear it may be permanent

By Rob Picheta   05/04/20  
All of the defining images of the coronavirus pandemic seem to feature one thing: plastic.
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‘The parallels between coronavirus and climate crisis are obvious’

By Michael Segalov   05/04/20  
Environmental journalist Emily Atkin hopes public pressure over the pandemic will be a model for forcing governments to act
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Facing A Health Crisis, Cities Implore Courts To Limit Pollution

By Jeremy Deaton   05/02/20  
The coronavirus is a case study in the limits of federalism. Where the federal government has declined to gather and distribute masks, gloves and ventilators, states and cities have been forced to compete for medical…
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The Pandemic is a Reason to Preserve not Pollute the Planet

By Steve Cohen   04/27/20  
The pandemic should be teaching us the importance of public health, environmental protection and scientific analysis; which should lead us to preserve rather than pollute the planet. ...
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Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment

By Nikolia Apostolou   04/25/20  
By Nikolia ApostolouOver a month into the lockdown and the usually bustling streets of Kalamata, a Greek city southwest of Athens traditionally known for its olives,...
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Climate science deniers at forefront of downplaying coronavirus pandemic

By Emily Holden   04/25/20  
Vocal influencers such as the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and the Heartland Institute are hitting back at a time when people’s trust in science is risingCoronavirus – latest US updatesCoronavirus – latest global updatesSee all…
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What COVID-19 Can Teach Us About Sustainability

By Daryush Nourbaha   04/23/20  
A student examines the parallels between what this virus is doing to us and what we’ve been doing to our planet. ...
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Clean energy can drive the coronavirus recovery, Massachusetts advocates say

By Sarah Shemkus   04/23/20  
Activists and businesses are making the case to make solar, offshore wind, and electric transportation a priority.
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The Covid-19 crisis creates a chance to reset economies on a sustainable footing | James Shaw

By James Shaw   04/23/20  
New Zealand climate minister says governments must not just return to the way things were, and instead plot a new course to ease climate change James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister, has asked the…
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Oil collapse and COVID-19 create toxic geopolitical stew

By Rick Gladstone   04/22/20  
For nations reliant on oil sales, the combination of the price collapse and the coronavirus pandemic has created new threats of poverty and political instability from Iraq to Venezuela....
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Coronavirus: which governments are bailing out big polluters?

By Chloé Farand   04/20/20  
A round-up of the support countries are extending to aviation, coal, oil and gas businesses as demand is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic The post Coronavirus: which governments are bailing out big polluters? appeared first…
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Empty Grocery Shelves and Rotting, Wasted Vegetables: Two Sides of a Supply Chain Problem

By Georgina Gustin   04/19/20  
Covid-19 and climate change are testing a food system that critics say has lost its resilience.
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Video: In New York’s Empty Streets, Lessons for Climate Change in the Response to Covid-19

By Anna Belle Peevey   04/17/20  
The pandemic is fast-moving while the impacts of climate change take decades to manifest, but both threaten humanity if some common steps aren’t taken in response.
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How Is the Climate Community Reacting to the Coronavirus Pandemic? | The Greenhouse

By Hannah Fairfield, Somini Sengupta, Nadja Popovich and John Schwartz   04/14/20  
The response to the coronavirus pandemic has had unexpected climate consequences, including less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. What lessons can be taken from this moment, and how can we apply it when…
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‘Unbelievable’ Timing: As Coronavirus Rages, Trump Disregards Advice to Tighten Clean Air Rules

By Coral Davenport   04/14/20  
Despite an emerging link between air pollution and Covid-19 death rates, the Trump administration will decline to tighten standards on soot emissions.
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Why The Solutions To Coronavirus And Climate Change Are The Same

By Amanda Schupak   04/14/20  
Protecting the environment will make us healthier, so we can withstand the next pandemic — or prevent it. ...
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Coyotes, bobcats and bears: Wildlife is reclaiming Yosemite National Park

By Susanne Rust   04/13/20  
Yosemite Village is normally a crush of humanity and traffic congestion. On Saturday, it was peaceful like few times before — the only sounds coming from the wind and the few local residents.
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Air pollution way down over Northeast, NASA satellite images appear to show

By John Murphy   04/13/20  
Major cities across the Northeast are now seeing significant improvement in air quality similar to the improvements seen in Italy and China during coronavirus lockdowns.
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Higher air pollution linked to coronavirus deaths, Harvard study finds

By Chris Teale   04/13/20  
Areas in the United States that had high levels of air pollution before the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) are more likely to see patients die from the infection during its spread, according to…
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Carbon emissions from fossil fuels could fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020

By Jillian Ambrose   04/12/20  
Reduction of 5% would represent biggest drop in demand for industry on record
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We Must Be Honest About What the Coronavirus Outbreak Will Mean for Climate Action

By Anders Lorenzen   04/12/20  
By Anders Lorenzen, A Greener Life, a Greener WorldIn the wake of the global Covid-19 outbreak which has caused the biggest disruption to life as we...
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When Climate Met Covid

By Guy Dauncey   04/09/20  
We face not one but three simultaneous inter-connected crises: the COVID-19 Emergency, the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, and the Crisis of Capitalism. We urgently need connected constructive responses.
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Will the Coronavirus Kill the Oil Industry?

By Bill McKibben   04/09/20  
It’s hard to get mad at a virus, but it’s easy to be enraged by people and institutions that are disregarding the threat it poses in order to further their own profits.
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Clearer picture of coronavirus-driven grid load declines emerges in US after weeks of lockdowns

By Robert Walton   04/09/20  
It has now been almost three weeks since the first U.S. lockdowns related to the spread of the novel coronavirus began and grid operators are beginning to get a clearer sense of how that is impacting…
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Human impact on biodiversity loss may fuel future pandemics

By Maggie Rulli and Lindsey Griswold   04/09/20  
Encroachment on plant and animal life by man is fueling diseases, scientists say....
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Pollution made COVID-19 worse. Now, lockdowns are clearing the air.

By Beth Gardiner   04/08/20  
As the novel coronavirus tears around the world, it’s exploiting our biggest weaknesses, from creaking health care systems to extreme social inequality. Its relationship with one pervasive and neglected problem, however, is more tangled: Air…
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“Working Together Is What Humans Are Built to Do”: Social Trust Is Key to Stemming the Coronavirus Crisis

By Bill McKibben   04/08/20  
The coronavirus pandemic is now so sprawling that it has revealed the souls of tens of thousands of individuals, from remarkably kind nurses to online sellers seeking to corner the market for hand sanitizers (until finally deciding to donate them).
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Decades of Science Denial Related to Climate Change Has Led to Denial of the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Neela Banerjee and David Hasemyer   04/08/20  
American science denialism, deployed for years against climate change and, most recently, the coronavirus, can be traced back to the early 1950s during the fight over smog in Los Angeles.
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Race, Pollution and the Coronavirus

By Lisa Friedman and Zoë Schlanger   04/08/20  
Also this week: How to be ready for overlapping disasters
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COVID-19 Provides Lessons on Climate Adaptation for Cities

By Amy Turner   04/08/20  
Some policies can simultaneously address public health threats, reduce emissions and provide for a city’s recovery. ...
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Coronavirus-induced oil price plunge is hurting the circular economy for plastic

By Robin Hicks   04/06/20  
One of the biggest oil demand falls in history may be good news for emissions-watchers. But it’s bad news for the business of plastic recycling. How will pricier post-consumer plastic affect corporate sustainable packaging commitments?
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A website about the U.S. electricity grid offers a mesmerizing way to pass the time productively

By Karin Kirk   04/06/20  
For a voyeuristic view of electricity consumption patterns, look no further than the federal government's Hourly Electric Grid Monitor.
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The Climate Rules Being Rolled Back During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Amy Westervelt and Emily Gertz   04/06/20  
These changes are especially worrying because they're happening even as climate scientists say that for all nations to have a chance of averting catastrophic climate change, industrial nations must slash their carbon pollution within roughly…
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