Four months later, the outburst of Coronavirus is finally showing its effects on climate change predicting a doomsday crisis
Imagine a world where everybody stays at home… Companies running on ‘work from home’ model, staff discussing business over conference calls.
An economic set-up where the oil is cheap yet carbon emissions and foot-prints are steadily wiping off from the face of the planet.
Bad news, this is where we are headed to in the dystopian world created by the outbreak of COVID-19, the 2019 coronavirus pandemic as we know it.
The novel strain of the flu virus claimed over a million lives worldwide. It has spread to 114 countries with no cure in sight yet. And it is spitting out newly infected cases every day like burnt kangaroos and koalas from the Australian bush fire.
Wrecking havoc, stirring fear, and panic among people everywhere, alike. Coronavirus may well be here to stay.
To give you an image—the early morning scene at any metro/ underground rail station globally is made of hundreds of people lined up wearing white surgical masks and gloves while travelling. ‘Have you washed your hands?’ is the new hello and gods forbid coughing in public is as looked down upon as swearing in front of your parents.
If we were part of the MCU this would be Earth-COVID-19, Welcome!
But this is the reality and we ARE living in this new world (Illuminatis, are you listening, involved?)
So while we are here let’s take a look at the mid-term foreseeable good, bad and ugly order of our new world.
Surprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak is good news for climate change. For example, China the epicentre of this pandemic has seen a 25 per cent fall in greenhouse gas emission in just past weeks. The shutting down of factories and travel ban has played a salient role in reducing carbon emissions. The last such slowdown was seen during the great depression, recession, during the collapse of the Soviet Union and World War II.
Major companies like Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Google are encouraging their global workforce to ‘work from home’. Which means the employees stay home and so do the shoppers. There’s a dip in public travel as people are avoiding crowded places.
The global travel industry is on the verge of going bankrupt with travel bans in place on people travelling to and from major countries like South Korea, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Spain and more. As per Reuters, business travel sector alone lost $820 Billion in revenue since the outbreak. The US just cancelled all travel from Europe for a month.
The drop in the greenhouse emission and travel ban together results in the global reduction of carbon footprints.
However as per the MIT Technology Review, “As with the rare instances when worldwide carbon pollution dipped in the past, driven by earlier economic shocks, diseases, and wars, emissions are likely to rise again as soon as the economy bounces back.”
Talking about ‘economy’ though it looks bad. Very bad.
On Monday, amidst the coronavirus fears and price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, oil stocks crashed globally. The market saw the biggest one-day drop since 1991.
To put that in perspective, world’s richest man, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, lost $7 billion in a day. Asia’s richest man Reliance Industries promoter Mukesh Ambani lost $ 5.8 Billion. Furthermore, the world’s 500 richest people lost a combined wealth worth $239 billion. All in the same day.
As per the prediction of the International Energy Agency, oil demand will fall at least to a level not seen since, the economic crisis of 2009.
A continued combination of the current socio-economic conditions and fear due to unavailability of the cure will alter the transportation habits of people around the world.
Employers are getting more comfortable with the idea of remote working and video conferencing. The travel bans are here to stay for a while, and that gravely threatens a rapid decline in oil demand.
Moreover, the global financial market has suffered a loss of $10 trillion in wealth since the outbreak. Businesses are cutting back, supply chains breaking down, the supermarket aisles are empty. All foreshadowing a global socio-economic crisis.
And speaking of ‘crisis,’
UN’s Trade and development agency UNCTAD recently stated that the coronavirus has sparked economic uncertainty which will likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020.
In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, UNCTAD predicts a “Doomsday Scenario” this year where the world economy grew only a 0.5 per cent and would involve a $2 trillion hit to GDP. Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, Kozul-Wright said, “Collapsing oil prices had been a contributing factor to that growing sense of unease and panic.”
He warns that some countries might not feel the financial ramification of the coronavirus hit the market. Whereas Europe is on the verge of a recession — Germany has a fragile economy as of now and the Italian economy is under very serious stress. Latin America is as vulnerable and Argentina’s economy, in particular, will struggle with the after-effects.
For heavily indebted developing nations, particularly exporters will take a hit. Even the least developed countries that supply raw materials won’t be spared either. Kozul-Wright added, “There’s a degree of anxiety now that’s well beyond the health scares which are very serious and concerning.”
However, he reassures, “Coronavirus would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled… we are not at the mercy of the virus.”
At mercy or not at least the coronavirus’ doomsday prediction has shown us we are not ready for a pandemic induced crisis.