How COVID-19 could alter the course of climate change

By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, June 10, 2020

Once the novel coronavirus has been tamed or eradicated and the world returns to “normal,” what will that look like? Will COVID-19 fundamentally and permanently alter our lives? In an occasional series, this newspaper examines the potential lasting effects of the pandemic on how we live, work and play.

The emissions that cause climate change have fallen off globally during pandemic lockdowns, and experts are asking whether our response to COVID-19 will bring long-term changes that help the climate.

(...)“We’re seeing that COVID is leading to these huge temporary emissions reductions, especially in countries or cities with large industries” such as China, says Robb Barnes, executive director of Ecology Ottawa.

He, too, is worried that public transit will be hurt by anxiety: “In our office, people are discussing how they can avoid the trip in general.”

While he’s not happy about Ottawa’s expanding urban boundary, he hopes that communities could grow up outside central Ottawa where people can have homes and jobs close together rather than commuting long distances.

And as we try to re-start the economy, he says “there are all kinds of ideas about a green recovery, ensuring that we’re financing renewable energies and not propping up the old industries” of oil, gas and auto makers.

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