One more thing…
With social distancing orders spanning across the entire world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have noticed environmental shifts for the better. Certainly with so many individuals remaining in their homes, the air is cleaner in major cities and people aren’t emitting as much pollution. One might assume that this bodes well for 2020 as a climate-reforming year.
Sadly, although the isolation has probably lowered the carbon footprint in the short term, recent statistics show that 2020 is already on its way to becoming one of the hottest years on record. According to the Global Climate Report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, January-February 2020 was the second hottest of its period on record, with global temperatures 1.16 degrees Celsius over the 20th Century average. The only hotter January-February period occurred in 2016.
Likewise, Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that global temperatures for March 2020 were on par with those of March 2017 and 2019, respectively the second and third warmest Marches on record.
While we are preoccupied with a pandemic…
Coming off of the warmest decade ever, it should not be a surprise that 2020 is already proving to be a blazing year. The high temperatures are inextricably related to climate change, and even if our current isolated situation is causing people to conserve, it is a meager change that can hardly diminish the CO2 trapped in our atmosphere on any tangible level.
Ever since industrial revolution, humans have been pumping carbon into the air, which in turn has been trapping heat and causing global warming. 2020’s high temperatures are only the most recent manifestation of this phenomenon. Essentially, we have over a century’s worth of above-natural levels of CO2 above us. A few weeks, months, or even a full year of low-emission isolated living is not going to magically eliminate the systemic environmental issue at hand.
This is not to diminish the carbon-reducing efforts of individuals—they are certainly impactful on a person-to-person level. However, if the world is to truly combat the crisis and reach salvation for the future, then powerful groups must come together with policies that enact and enforce wide scale reformation.
Even if we all stay at home, abstain from driving, and engage in less carbon-producing commerce throughout 2020, the world-as-it-is will continue to melt, for it is not just the current year that jeopardizes the planet. It is all of the hundreds of years that came before it. If a solution exists, it will not take effect overnight.
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