How COVID-19 could alter the course of climate change

By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, June 10, 2020 (appears in the Citizen on June 27)

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.

This year, the world is forecast to have a dip of five to eight per cent in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s nice, but at some point, we all return to work. And then what?

(...)“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.


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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