Looking back at the pandemic

What has the crisis done for the climate?

Looking back at the pandemic

When the pandemic began, we started hearing hopeful stories from unexpected places. In Venice, researchers saw clear canal water and active marine life for the first time in decades, after years of pollution by cruise ships and tourist traffic. Air traffic reached an all-time low. CO2 emissions declined by 6% in 2020. It seemed like at least mother nature would have benefits from the pandemic. But this almost romantic picture of the pandemic changed rapidly when scientists published the latest CO2 measurement results in the atmosphere: 421.29 ppm – a new record since climate experts started measuring CO2 emissions in the oldest observation centre on the world in Hawaii. 

But how is it that the global emissions are rising even under the umbrella of a pandemic? 

One of the biggest drivers of this development was the lack of attention to climate goals in the last two years. Investment in green energy and research have been cut. Long-term solutions are not available while short-term solutions are very rare. 

The pandemic has a high price for our planet: Climate goals disappeared into the background, and it will take years until governments financially recover from the pandemic. 

The IPCC Climate Report 2022 emphasizes that our future climate strongly relies on every action that we take now. At the same time, it also shows how drastic the consequences might be if nothing changes: With global temperatures on the rise, the agricultural industry will suffer. Harvests across Europe and America could decrease to a point where there is insufficient production to continue feeding the population. Water supply could be another pain point caused by global warming. The flood in Germany in 2021 is one of many examples of natural catastrophes associated with climate change that are sadly becoming a new normal.

What are the consequences of current emissions trends? 

While we want to emphasize the urgency to react, we don’t want to say that the outlook is bleak. The political landscape is adapting to the rapidly changing climate conditions. The discussion around emissions at the UN climate conference 2021 revealed a willingness to reduce emissions, and if necessary through legislative means. 

Even though there is still no legal framework that requires companies to measure CO2 emissions, the climate trends show the need for a rapid change. We want to encourage every company to discover the CO2 pain-points in their business and actively reduce them. 

Find out more on how we can help you decarbonize your value chain here. 

Image Source: Photo by Fahrul Azmi from Unsplash