Climate experts say coronavirus could help the global fight to reduce emissions

Social distancing, self-isolation and working from home could become the new normal, and that’s seeing emissions drop worldwide.

With the rapid spread of the coronavirus beyond China, the president of the United States is hoping that spring temperatures will halt the contagion in its tracks the same way that common cold strains abate by summer.

“You know, in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away, that’s true,” US President Donald Trump said last month.

The mercury is once again rising faster, with January 2020 posting the highest temperatures on record for the first month of the year.

But health experts are loath to assume that the number of new cases will fall as the northern hemisphere emerges from a mild winter.

“No one knows for sure what warmer temperatures will mean for COVID-19 because it is a novel virus, but WHO [World Health Organization] has said that there is no evidence currently that we should expect this outbreak to subside with warming temperatures,” Thomas Bollyky, director of the global health programme at the Council on Foreign Relations.

While global warming may not make the coronavirus go away, the outbreak is temporarily curbing carbon emissions. And financial experts say new sustainability criteria for assessing investment risks could help governments and the private sector initiate measures that could avoid future outbreaks.

By: Sara Colin

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