COVID-19, Capitalism, and Climate Disruption

How will the coronavirus change perceptions
of climate change

By Krestine Reed

I’ve become interested in how COVID-19 sequestration (a.k.a. social distancing and shelter-in-place) may effect GHG and other factors contributing to climate change. There is much being written that acknowledges just how little time is required to make a significant visible and measurable change. We are currently emerged in a real-time case study that shows how existing energy and economic systems adapt to abrupt changes. I’m just hoping that those in the power seats are paying attention. Here is an article of interest that was in Scientific American, March 12, 2020.   

“History suggests that global disasters, particularly those with major effects on the economy, tend to drive a temporary decline in carbon emissions. The 2008 recession, for instance, was accompanied by a temporary dip in global carbon emissions.  On a local scale, the climate impact of an epidemic is more complex—it’s likely to hinge on a wide variety of changes in the way people carry out their daily lives, from how often they leave their homes to how they travel around their cities to how they do their shopping.”  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-coronavirus-pandemic-is-affecting-co2-emissions/.

I recently noticed that capitalism never misses a profit making opportunity. In the security of our “social distancing” confines comes the offer to purchase a new automobile and have it delivered to your driveway. And if your personal income stream is interrupted by COVID-19, you are offered extended terms in which to begin repayment. Now that’s ingenious marketing in a fear-based downturned economy. Only in America does consumerism and materialism have the fervor of religion. I’m a little disappointed though, so far I’ve only seen automobile manufacturers of combustion engines offering this deal. At my new house, I got local channels included in the Wave package, so I watched some TV with all those ads. Thank goodness I can get the TV channels option removed.