Archives for April 2020

Coronavirus Gives Me Hope for Climate Change

puppy worried about coronavirus
Thanks to @sea_hugger for the inspiration!

As China shut down factories and refineries, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 25% – about 150 million metric tons, which is equivalent to what the state of New York emits in a year. Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show dramatically reduced nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which are released by cars, power plants, and factories; carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal are similarly reduced.

In Los Angeles, where I live, our air has been cleaner in the past three weeks than in previous months, and traffic is moving nearly 70% faster than the weeks before the shutdown. Despite pressure from the plastics industry to abandon zero-waste strategies, most of us are trying to stick to our refillable, reusable, perpetually washable guns.

People’s lives are at stake. These are not sacrifices we would ever make voluntarily. But are there lessons we can learn?

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How To Fight Coronawashing

“Fife Ethylene Plant” by Richard Webb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency shocked environmentalists by announcing that companies do not need to meet environmental standards – including monitoring and reporting – during the coronavirus outbreak. This week, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 20 environmental groups petitioned the EPA for more “stringent disclosure,” calling the memo a “license to pollute” and a “clear opportunity for abuse.”

The EPA move is “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future,” said former EPA Office of Enforcement head Cynthia Giles, and even more frightening given the fact that air pollution makes people more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19 because it lowers our ability to fight off infection and may, in fact, help spread it.

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