Climate activists are finding a “silver lining” in the global coronavirus outbreak — reduced economic growth, less travel and lower carbon dioxide emissions for the planet. “It is fantastic for the environment,” wrote Astrophysicist & Philosopher Martín López Corredoira on March 4 at his Science 2.0 blog.
“We see a reduced production in Chinese industry, which has resulted in a huge drop in China’s pollution. We also see that many international conferences, summits or events that concentrate thousands of individuals from different countries are being cancelled or made virtual because of the fear of extending the infection of coronavirus,” López Corredoira explained.
Martín López Corredoira
“What good news for the ecologists and tourist-haters! This positively affects the reduction of CO2 emission and the whole wave the destruction associated with holiday and professional conference tourism,” López Corredoira wrote.
“Neither Greenpeace, nor Greta Thunberg, nor any other individual or collective organization have achieved so much in favor of the health of the planet in such a short time,” he added.
The former UN climate chief this week also joined those promoting the possible benefits of the coronavirus outbreak. See: Former UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres: Slower economic growth from coronavirus ‘may be good for climate’ – ‘There is less trade, less travel, less commerce’
Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked former UN chief Figueres: “Is there any sense that this could be self-controlling — that as we see economic growth possibly slowing down around the world, because of coronavirus — that’s actually good for the climate?”
Christiana Figueres replied: “Well, that is, ironically, of course, the other side of this — right? It may be good for climate. But I think — because there is less trade, there’s less travel, there’s less commerce.”
The Week magazine also touted the impacts of the coronavirus as a “win for the environment” and “a significant reduction of…carbon footprints.”
Green Fanatics Celebrating Coronavirus Epidemic
By Astrophysicist & Philosopher Martín López Corredoira, – Science 2.0, March 4, 2020
Excerpts: […] For decades, we have witnessed the struggle between the expanding forces of the economy and the restoring forces of ecology. Conclusions that may be derived from observing this confrontation are that: 1) an ecological/green/sustainable capitalist economy is an oxymoron; that is, capitalism and sustainability are mutually exclusive ideas; and 2) the economy is winning almost all of the battles hands down. A very clear example of the failure to arrive at a green solution within the current model of our western-style societies in developed countries is illustrated in global warming conferences: a perfect example of hypocrisy in which climate scientists and many politicians, administrators and people living on the green lobbies behave as a “jet-set” among the highest ratio contaminators, while they exert their moral authority to demand that people in less privileged groups of our society, such as coal miners, teamsters working on oil pipelines, and mining-dependent workers sacrifice their own economic well-being to fight climate change. One of the latest failed attempts to find solutions came from the COP25 in Madrid of 2019 summit; another one in the long list of fruitless negotiations to try to stop or mitigate the negative effects of the global warming already knocking on our doors.
The implicit or explicit explanation for the long list of unsuccessful negotiations is always the same: “yes, yes, we see the problem, but… you know, we have the economy to think about, and many people will suffer if we significantly modify any of its parameters, so let us continue to live as usual, even increasing our consumption habits, and we will meet again at next summit to eat in good restaurants, enjoy tourism and take beer with colleagues to try to find a solution”. Putting it bluntly, there is no solution, and we are damned to a disaster unless a miracle happens.
Suddenly, much to the surprise of the economic and political gurus, the solution is spontaneously arising in front of our very eyes: a virus. As in H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, a microscopic Earth lifeform has finally proved to reverse the victory in what has so far been a losing war to reduce the excesses of a crazy, self-destructive world. Neither Greenpeace, nor Greta Thunberg, nor any other individual or collective organization have achieved so much in favor of the health of the planet in such a short time. A miracle happened, and, suddenly, all the excuses to avoid a reduction of contamination have been shown to be spurious. In less than two months, worldwide organizations have shown us how it is indeed possible to close museums, shut down whole towns, including such top touristic destinations as Venice, reduce the number of flights, and cancel many of the most important conferences and summits, etc. And this is only the beginning…..
“Yes, we can”, said the slogan of a former US president. Certainly, we can, we can stop the world if necessary and keep the people alive and healthy and happy without an expanding and destructive economic system.
ABOUT MARTÍN: Martín López Corredoira (1970-), PhD in Physics, PhD in Philosophy. Staff researcher at Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Canary islands, Spain). Author of around a hundred papers on Astrophysics in international refereed scientific journals, half of them as first author. Author of tens of articles and papers on Philosophy and the books Diálogos entre razón y sentimiento (1997, in Spanish), Somos fragmentos de Naturaleza arrastrados por sus leyes (2005, in Spanish), ¿Dios o la materia? Un debate sobre cosmología, ciencia y religión (2008, in Spanish, coauthored with F. Soler Gil), Against the Tide. A Critical Review by Scientist of How Physics and Astronomy Get Done (2008, coeditor with C. Castro Perelman), The Twilight of the Scientific Age (2013), Voluntad. La fuerza heroica que arrastra la vida (2015, in Spanish).