The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

COVID-19’s impact on climate change

(Wikimedia Commons/ De Molen (windmill) and the nuclear power plant cooling tower in Doel, Belgium)

The silver lining in all the change COVID-19 has brought is the climate damage appearing to clear up.

In the time since the coronavirus was declared a national emergency and more nations have gone into lockdown, less people are traveling anywhere by car, boat and airlines. Therefore, less greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.

However, this steep decline in greenhouse gases is predicted to reverse back to the way it was when the stay-at-home order is lifted. As soon as this crisis is over, nations are back in business and transportation services will resume. COVID-19 is just a roadblock to activities that allow people to be close together. Cars, airplanes and boats are essential machines to get around in the world.

Along with reduced greenhouse gases, oil prices are decreasing to the point where they are becoming negative.

According to an article from the World Economic Forum titled “The Climate and COVID-19: a convergence of crises,” Emily Kirsch, the founder of and managing partner of powerhouse ventures states, “oil prices plummeted—even turning negative—as reduced demand has converged with an increase in supply after the OPEC nations failed to reach an agreement earlier this month.”

With the decrease in oil prices, more oil corporations are investing in renewable energy. Some world oil companies would take note of how much is invested in wind and solar energy more than oil.

“For the first time in history, some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are seeing their wind and solar assets outperform their oil assets, and their investors are taking note,” said Kirsch.

Regardless of the outcome, the relation between coronavirus and climate change displays how a drop of carbon emissions represents a drop in economic activities. However, this might not be true for every citizen in the world, as some who return to work during the crisis might travel by bicycle.

“As far as Central Oregon, [climate change] remains to be seen,” says ecology professor Steve Edwards. “Wildlife tends to colonize quickly where people aren’t.”

Steve Edwards was on campus a few weeks ago and noticed wildlife being much more abundant than during the days people were present. Central Oregon cities such as Bend are not large urban areas for industrialization.  It would take time for Central Oregon to have the same global impacts. By then, the crisis might be over.

(Jack Peeples/The Broadside)

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