Mark Chadwick, Managing Director, Sustainability Solutions UK&I at ENGIE Impact explains why accelerated decarbonisation is sustainability’s global lifeline.
Coronavirus has caused unprecedented shutdowns for many countries. At the height of the pandemic, usage of cars, planes and buses dropped to a fraction of the usual level directly due to the lockdowns imposed by governments around the world. And yet, global greenhouse emissions only fell to the levels seen in 2006 levels too high to meet our climate change goals. Now that many countries are easing lockdown restrictions and introducing measures designed to boost their economies, evidence suggests that emissions are rebounding to pre-COVID-19 levels as vehicle usage climbs. This is cause for concern.
Both COVID-19 and climate change have impacts beyond carbon emissions, such as health impacts. A recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) claimed that one in eight deaths are linked to pollution. Clearly, there is an unquestionable, direct link between pollution and public health. Further to this, extreme weather events are costing economies billions of dollars every year, resulting in death, destruction and more than 50 million people worldwide being displaced.
The threat of climate change is touching every industry, becoming an economic, environmental and health problem. With this in mind, we must adapt beyond where we were pre-COVID-19 – we need to accelerate change and reduce the risks and threats of the climate crisis that can have a devastating impact on the way we live.