Greta Tunberg is satisfied
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing total self-isolation have a beneficial effect on nature. It is difficult to argue with this indirect positive effect of the infection. Of course, all this will not be the longest-running process, but coronavirus has already reduced the average annual values of harmful emissions. China, the first to face a new infection and rapidly freeze the industry’s work with transport, in a few weeks “saved” 200 million tons of carbon dioxide for the atmosphere. Of course, not so much in comparison with annual world emissions (about 54 billion tons), but after all, not one China went into quarantine.
Residents of many cities in the Middle Kingdom finally saw what the sun looks like without a shroud of smog.
It is worth remembering that a considerable share in China's energy balance is played by coal. The reduction in its burning for nature has been another bonus. Nevertheless, a decrease in the use of natural gas is not so significant as a decrease in the consumption of coal, during the combustion of which radioactive particles are even released. At the same time, the Chinese cannot count on a quick recovery from the epidemic. Firstly, many countries, consumers of Chinese products, are only now in crisis, and secondly, in China, all restrictions will not be lifted for a long time.
According to Greenpeace activists, a paradoxical situation is forming in the world: a global reduction in toxic gas emissions due to a deadly infection will save several hundred thousand lives. Every day we receive reports on the thousands of deaths from COVID-19, but at the same time, a global reduction in atmospheric emissions preserves the health and lives of no fewer people. On average, according to WHO, up to 7 million people die every year from anthropogenic emissions in the world. What part of them will save the consequences of coronavirus?
However, this is one side of the coin. A global recession could cause a real humanitarian catastrophe and massive hunger in developing countries. First of all, according to the UN, ten countries fall into the risk zone: Venezuela, Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan. In many ways, this famine will not even be associated with the economic crisis within these states, but with the difficult situation within countries that can help them. Coronavirus is expected to reduce the population, not only causing fatal complications in the body. Its indirect influence has yet to be explored.
We will analyze the special cases of the latest COVID-19 on the world and the economy. One of the markers of a decrease in anthropogenic activity in recent months has been the statistics of new car sales. If in Europe and the USA these indicators fluctuate depending on the region within 53-97%, then in India a real miracle happened - not a single car sold in April! These are the consequences of total isolation of 1,3 billion.
residents of the country.
Amidst the lockdown, wild animals have started moving towards the city. One such picture was seen in Hyderabad. Here the leopard was seen resting in Malaradevapalli in Rajendra Nagar area. #leopard #Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/xbybvbI0Fo- suratcitynews (@surat_city_news) May 2, 2017
In Mumbai, by the way, for the first time in 30 years, citizens saw the mountain peaks of the Himalayas - an almost complete stop of transport and industry dispelled the usual smog.
In New York, urban residents, frightened by crowding in public transport, are massively cycling. Again for the cardiovascular system is beneficial. Together with the ban on the use of personal transport in a number of countries and a global decrease in the intensity of air travel, all this will lead to a short-term reduction in emissions. And further. Bloomberg recently announced that over time, meat in the US will become food for the very wealthy. Tyson Foods and Cargill, the largest producers of meat products, closed, which created a considerable shortage. As a result, farmers massively slaughter cattle, which inevitably has a positive effect on natural resources - water, vegetation and the atmosphere. And here the problem for the Americans is more serious: it will definitely not be possible to restore the livestock population overnight, which means that the environment has several months, or even years, to breathe.
For all this, of course, eco-activist Greta Tunberg will say thanks. By the way, she, along with actor Joaquin Phoenix, has already spoken out positively about the outbreak of the global economic crisis. However, they rightly mention the short-term positive changes. A particular example of the consequences can be given. The fact is that the inevitable decline in fuel prices will lead to a drop in buyers' interest in electric cars. The acquisition of these expensive toys is already seriously subsidized by individual states. In times of crisis, these subsidies will either decrease or be completely reset. In Norway, for example, because of the economic downturn, they began to sell the sovereign fund, and this country pays a lot to its motorists for the purchase of electric cars. Why buy an expensive and uncomfortable car with a power outlet if the fuel costs real cents? At a minimum in this consumption sector, carbon emissions into the atmosphere can subsequently increase.
Perhaps only residents of megalopolises can feel the air purified by the consequences of COVID-19, but anyone who breaks self-isolation can now face bold animals.
Nature on the offensive
Quarantined Man: What Does It Mean? He will be less in nature, with which, to put it mildly, has long had not the best relations. There will be less forest fires, which means that vegetation can fully develop. Small animals will not burn out on such a scale (remember the catastrophic consequences of recent fires in Australia), and in fact they will become links in someone's food chain. Many have canceled the hunting seasons with all the attendant bonuses for wildlife. People will feed birds less in parks and other recreational natural areas - this, by the way, is very good, since the natural processes of regulating the number of birds are not disturbed. And they, among other things, are good carriers of diseases dangerous to humans.
However, for people hiding in self-isolation, nature prepared not only clean air and enchanting bird trills, but also a mass attack. In hot countries, there was no one to disinfect pools and natural ponds in resort areas, and this led to the mass reproduction of various species of insects. This is not just unnecessary inconvenience to residents, but also a serious challenge to epidemiologists. One can expect new outbreaks, for example, malaria, the drugs for which, I recall, are now used to treat COVID-19. In Africa, by the way, there is already a shortage of such drugs. In general, sometimes a vicious circle is obtained.
For the most part, animals very quickly conquer territories previously occupied by humans. These are dolphins in Venice, and goats in Llandudno in Wales, and a cougar in Santiago, and a bear cub in Yaroslavl, who bit a random passer on the night of May 18. By the way, the last incident could end tragically for a person. Fortunately for him, a taxi driver was on duty nearby, frightening off the beast and taking the victim to a medical center.
And if quarantine drags out in one form or another for a long time? In the newest stories there is a precedent for the mass capture of anthropogenic space by wild animals - this is a 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Over the past decades, this territory has become a real reserve with a mass of "Red Book" representatives of flora and fauna. Now predators rule the ball there - wolves and lynxes, which at one time seriously reduced the number of wild boars, and, it seems, formed a true ecological balance. Gradually, bison, brown bears, and other animals that they have already forgotten come to the human-free zone of Ukrainian Polesie. Of course, it is impossible to directly transfer the history of the Chernobyl exclusion zone to the modern quarantine world. Still, people from cities have not gone anywhere. The offensive will be fragmented, but the danger of close contacts with the wild world of nature may well bring another pandemic. After all, we remember that the excessive proximity of China’s 1,4 billion people to animals regularly leads to outbreaks of new infections, the last of which COVID-19 claimed more than 300 thousand lives. And the global economic crisis has led at least to a noticeable increase in the number of animals, including carriers of zoonotic diseases dangerous to humans. The question is when and where will we see the first truly negative echoes of the offensive of the wild world of nature.