The recent pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives and there will be many casualties of the crisis as a result. Not only are we coping with the devastating death toll as people lose family members before their time, we are also seeing businesses big and small and local and global economies suffer drastic and devastating consequences.
But should we be concerned that the climate change agenda could take the next big hit as we attempt to recover, physically and financially, from COVID-19?
Alarming new data
As reported in The Guardian, alarming new data has suggested that “the climate is considerably more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously believed, and experts said the projections had the potential to be ‘incredibly alarming’.”
Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said climate models might still be underestimating the problem.
“The more we learn, the more fragile the Earth system seems to be and the faster we need to move,” he said.
“It gives even stronger argument to step out of this COVID-19 crisis and move full speed towards decarbonising the economy.”
One of the small positives that has been highlighted as countries cope with lockdown, has been the reduction in pollution levels and energy consumption which impact our environment.
Some might argue that the recent improvements in carbon emissions and air pollution, brought about by the enforced limitations on travel and industry, have re-ignited discussions around climate change.
The changes we have seen in such a short space of time should surely offer hope that the situation is redeemable and bring the debate for long-term improvements into sharper focus?
Our fear, however, is that the journey to recovery will leave ‘green’ talks in its wake as we attempt to salvage industries and recapture our pre-pandemic lifestyles.
Cuts in green spending
Historically, when a recession has hit, there has been a tendency to cut back on green spending. Companies can view sustainability as an almost philanthropic element of their business rather than a core part of operations and any program which doesn’t directly contribute to a healthier bottom line could be vulnerable.
Investment in energy efficient solutions within industry, such as the installation of solar panels or low energy lighting at factories and offices, has a longer payback period, which could mean these initiatives are mothballed until companies feel more financially secure.
While this is understandable, our concern is that we could be risking more if we let this immediate global crisis overshadow the other, equally critical issue of the climate emergency.
How can this be addressed?
NLT Director, Nathan Tromans, said: “I think we need to make green technologies an integral part of the economy’s recovery process. We should use this period as a wake-up call to realise that things can be done differently and we can all make a difference by doing our bit together.
“It seems this could be more crucial now than ever.
“We need to see support and direction from government that continues to prioiritise the climate change agenda. If governments worldwide took this as an opportunity to legislate for a different path, promoting green tech and discouraging others, it could offer our best chance at addressing this massive issue while also offering a way forward for industry.”
What’s clear is, it will require a concerted effort from us all to keep the spotlight on green initiatives. As a company, we will continue to develop our offering in vehicle charger installations, promoting the use of electric over petrol vehicles on Britain’s roads. And we’re still working with industry leaders, helping them re-assess their energy consumption and designing more eco-friendly work and living spaces.
There have been enough casualties of COVID-19, we can’t take our eye off the ball when it comes to saving the planet.Posted on 19th June 2020