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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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.
Read more

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…
Read more

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.…
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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.
Read more


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.

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.


Will COVID-19 Help Us Deal with Our Climate Crisis?

By Bob Leonard   03/18/20  
I think so. Look how quickly society has changed over the last two weeks. What would it look like if the world responded to our climate crisis with a similar sense of urgency? We have…
Read more

Where the Virus and Climate Intersect

By Brad Plumer and John Schwartz   03/18/20  
Airlines are pressing the government this week for billions of dollars in emergency aid as the coronavirus crisis crushes the travel business. With Congress debating how to help the ailing United States economy, decisions like…
Read more

Social Distancing? You Might Be Fighting Climate Change, Too

By John Schwartz   03/13/20  
As the nation shifts abruptly into the fight against coronavirus, a question arises: could social isolation help reduce an individual’s production of greenhouse gases and end up having unexpected consequences for climate change?
Read more

UNFOLD: Coronavirus And Climate Change

The coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders and lockdowns resulted in a huge drop in global greenhouse gas emissions — the largest reductions since World War II. The reductions were short-lived as the U.S. and other countries…
Read more

Watch the Footprint of Coronavirus Spread Across Countries

By Nadja Popovich   03/17/20  
As the new coronavirus shuts down countries around the world, the impact can be seen from space. A satellite that detects traces of human activity — tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks, fossil fuel burned…
Read more