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How will coronavirus change the world? Show more Show less
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COVID-19 has torn through the fabric of our lives all over the world - with over 20M cases and nearly 1M deaths, and a global collapse in GDP that is historically unprecedented. Will it have long term impact, and what will that look like - economically, politically, and socially?

Coronavirus will impact the climate crisis Show more Show less

In a time of climate crisis, such a widespread event could have a pivotal impact on the environment.
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Coronavirus will help to mitigate climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions have declined dramatically as the outbreak has reduced travel and industrial activities.

The Argument

Since the onset of coronavirus, we have seen huge impacts on pollution levels. For instance, NASA maps of north-eastern China show a colossal drop in nitrogen dioxide rates in areas in which factories have not re-opened after Lunar New Year or in which people are on lock-down.[1] Global air travel decreased by 4.3% in February 2020.[2] These benefits are only likely to increase as more and more places go on lock-down and less and less travel occurs. This could have a significant impact on the pace of climate change, and do much to mitigate the earth's usual pollution levels and its impact on the environment.

Counter arguments

These drops in pollution are not nearly enough to mitigate climate change, as history demonstrates. While other periods in history have previously caused temporary drops in emission rates, like the Great Recession or WWII, this does not change the overall upward trend of climate change.[2] It would take much more than a short period of lowered emissions to mitigate the seriousness of climate change.



[P1] The measures taken to halt the spread of coronavirus are significantly decreasing pollution levels. [P2] This significant decrease could serve to mitigate climate change.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This drop in pollution is not enough to significantly mitigate climate change.

Further Reading

Coronavirus temporarily drops China's emissions by 25%:


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Mar 2020 at 17:09 UTC

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