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Coronavirus Lockdown May Save More Lives By Preventing Pollution Than By Preventing Infection

The global lockdown inspired by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has shuttered factories and reduced travel, slashing lethal pollution including the greenhouse gases that are heating the climate.

The lockdown may save more lives from pollution reduction than are threatened by the virus itself, said François Gemenne, director of The Hugo Observatory, which studies the interactions between environmental changes, human migration, and politics.

“Strangely enough, I think the death toll of the coronavirus at the end of the day might be positive, if you consider the deaths from atmospheric pollution,” said Gemenne, citing, for example, the 48,000 people who die annually in France because of atmospheric pollution and the more than one million in China.

Today In: Green Tech

Scientists estimate the U.S. death toll from air pollution at more than 100,000 per year, and the World Health Organization estimates the global toll at 7 million.

The global death toll of an uncontained pandemic remains largely a matter of conjecture. The most dramatic projections that have been released—too hastily to be peer reviewed—put the global death toll of an unchecked pandemic in the millions—total, not annual. Most credible estimates are much less. Some experts have compared it to the 1957 flu outbreak that killed just over 1 million. The toll from a contained outbreak would of course be much smaller.

Reductions in air pollution and global heating could save more lives.

“More than likely the number of lives that would be spared because of these confinement measures would be higher than the number of lives that would be lost because of the pandemic,” Gemenne said in an appearance on France 24’s The Debate.

The discrepancy in how we react to these divergent threats should give us pause, Gemenne said, to consider why it is that we respond so strongly to one with less lethality and so weakly to one with more.

“These are quite fascinating times. What surprises me most is that the measures that we are ready to take to face this coronavirus are much more severe than the measures we would be ready to take to face climate change or atmospheric pollution,” Gemenne said.

“I think this is something that should question us: why are we so much more afraid of the coronavirus than we are of climate change or atmospheric pollution or other kinds of threats. What is so special about the coronavirus that we are ready to put the whole world on lockdown because of that?”

Watch Gemenne on France 24’s The Debate:

                                

Correction: This story originally reported that the annual death toll from air pollution in France is 84,000. The correct figure is 48,000.

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I’ve covered the energy and environment beat since 1985, when I discovered my college was discarding radioactive waste in a dumpster. That story ran in the Arizona Republic, and I have chased electrons and pollutants ever since, for dailies in Arizona and California, for alternative weeklies including New Times and Newcity, for online innovators such as The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth project, The New York Times Company’s LifeWire syndicate, and True/Slant—the prototype for the new Forbes. I’ve wandered far afield—to cover the counterrevolutionary war in Nicaragua, the World Series Earthquake in San Francisco, the UN Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen and Paris. I also teach journalism, argument and scientific writing at the University of Chicago. Email me here: jeffmcmahon.com/contact-jeff-mcmahon/

Source: Coronavirus Lockdown May Save More Lives By Preventing Pollution Than By Preventing Infection

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel for free here: https://sc.mp/subscribe-youtube China may have seen its first decline in carbon emissions in three years amid lockdowns of major cities that have closed factories and transport systems around the country to fight the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The US space agency Nasa recently released satellite images that show a drastic reduction in air pollution levels. On February 21, 2020, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in Finland, said that China’s carbon emissions dropped by about 100 million metric tonnes over just two weeks. But researchers caution that the environmental impact of the Covid-19 epidemic may only be temporary, as they predicted emissions will rebound as China resumes industrial activities. Follow us on: Website: https://scmp.com Facebook: https://facebook.com/scmp Twitter: https://twitter.com/scmpnews Instagram: https://instagram.com/scmpnews Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sout.

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The World Is Choking on Digital Pollution

A problem without a name cannot command attention, understanding, or resources—three essential ingredients of change. Recognizing that at some threshold industrial waste ceases to be an individual problem and becomes a social problem—a problem we can name—has been crucial to our ability to manage it. From the Clean Air Act to the Paris Accords, we have debated the environmental costs of progress with participants from all corners of society: the companies that produce energy or industrial products; the scientists who study our environment and our behaviors; the officials we elect to represent us; and groups of concerned citizens who want to take a stand……

Source: The World Is Choking on Digital Pollution

The Ocean Cleanup System Begins Removing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Sead Fadilpasic

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Read more: https://techacute.com/the-ocean-cleanup-system-removes-plastic-from-oceans/

 

 

 

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