Carbon pollution dropped 17% during coronavirus lockdowns. Here’s how you can help make those impacts last. - Front Page Live

Carbon pollution dropped 17% during coronavirus lockdowns. Here’s how you can help make those impacts last.

Aerial view of factory spewing fumes


Editors note: This piece was produced in partnership with Earth Day Network. We hope you’ll click here to promise to Vote Earth in 2020.

Staggering new data reveals just how sharply carbon emissions have fallen during the coronavirus pandemic. But if you want the changes to last, you’re going to have to take action.

A recently-published study found that carbon emissions in early April were down 17%, compared to the same time last year.

Unfortunately, this change probably won’t last. As economies reopen, governments may allow environmental standards to fall by the wayside in order to encourage production.

But, luckily enough, there’s something simple that lots of people can do to help maintain the lower emissions: Vote for the Earth.

The stats are shocking…

That 17% drop in emissions may be the biggest such fall in recorded history. And scientists predict that on the whole, emissions for 2020 could be down by as much as 7%, compared to last year.

The last time we saw an annual drop of that caliber? World War II.

43% of the decline in carbon resulted from all the cars, trucks, and buses that are off the roads. The lack of industrial activities accounted for another 19%. Grounded air traffic also contributed to the fall.

…but probably won’t last

But there are already signs that as economies reopen, people will start pumping out carbon.

As one example, the 2008 economic crisis resulted in China rapidly increasing production—and carbon emissions. Experts believe that manufacturers trying to recover from the virus may do the same.

The Trump administration has already relaxed some environmental protections while the pandemic distracts the public.

Meanwhile, some municipalities have banned reusable shopping bags, believing that single-use alternatives are safer, despite their immense carbon footprint.

Commuters returning to work may also avoid public transportation for fears of contamination. That would mean more cars on the road, burning fossil fuels.

What can you do? Vote.

The current drop in emissions might not be sustained. But that doesn’t mean that you should accept rising carbon levels as inevitable.

Earth Day Network is urging people to prioritize the planet with their “Vote Earth” campaign. As they say on their website,

Vote Earth is a global initiative that mobilizes millions of people to demonstrate their concern for our planet by rejecting inaction and demanding change at the polls. As voting citizens, we have enormous power to drive change by making our voices heard.

On their website, you can sign a pledge to vote for candidates who support reducing carbon emissions through policies like environmental regulations, cleaner energy, and a Green New Deal. They’ll send you reminders to go to the polls, or send in your ballot, as Voting Day draws nearer. You can even check to make sure you’re registered to vote on their website.

Take this moment as proof that the amount of human-released greenhouse gases doesn’t have to be so high. By supporting politicians who also want a cleaner world, you’re doing your part to create systemic change that will last beyond the current crisis.

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