The global lockdown is predicted to see annual carbon emissions reduce by 8%. This highlights what a huge challenge it will be to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. Furthermore, there is a worry that emissions will increase at a faster rate than before as people shy away from public transport. This is why national economic post-COVID recovery plans need to include investment into the faster transition into a low carbon society – investment in renewable energy, clean tech, battery technology, cleaner industry and improvements in home energy efficiency.
Meanwhile the impacts of climate change have the potential to be as impactful as virus pandemic – droughts, flooding, forest fires, and hurricanes. Our planet is warming up. We have enjoyed some glorious weather in the UK recently, with a very dry Spring and record amounts of sunshine in May. A predicted El Niño (a phenomenon that disrupts normal weather patterns, which brings heavy rains and drought to different parts of the world) is expected in late 2020 and it is thought that it will make global atmospheric temperature rise to a new record in 2021. We have long since warned about the potential impacts of climate change as this archive clip from our Non-Executive Director, Dr. Paul Toyne describing climate change El Niño impact back in 2007 shows:
COVID has been a real wake up to governments about how unprepared we are to these types of shocks. Climate change is occurring and we need to prepare to adapt whilst tackling emissions.