We humans are back & so are emission levels
Global CO2 emissions came roaring back as pandemic-induced restrictions loosened (…) The rebound in emissions was driven by major economies including China, India, and Brazil. China saw a 0.8 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions overall last year, according to the IEA. Another analysis this week by the UK-based Carbon Brief website found that the country’s emissions rose even more. They found that China’s emissions were up 1.5 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 and that the boost was mostly due to a push to jump-start its pandemic-slowed economy with highly polluting industries like construction and heavy manufacturing.
We don’t learn much, do we? We haven’t yet got our lives back from the clutches of the pandemic – it still has its hold over our throats. Sure, we have vaccines now and most countries have started vaccinated the majority of their most vulnerable population. But we are still a far way out from ridding ourselves of the onslaughts that the pandemic brought on us.
I saw a very similar behaviour close to home. My town had been recently put under another lockdown. No shops were open. All streets empty of vehicles. Markets closed down. Social gatherings advised against. Does such lockdown really help? That’s a different discussion – but it was good to see the city sleep to a silent self.
But after a perfunctory two-weeks trial, the lockdown was lifted. And people decided to absolutely rush to the streets. The markets were loaded – there were huge queues outside every known shop. It was as if the two-weeks period was enough to null every effect of the virus. We just didn’t care – we needed to be free. Like a spring released from under pressure, popped we back, unhinged. Unheeded to the advice from sane.
I understand, it’s a balancing act. We can’t mar our countries’ economy; everyone - the individuals, the communities, the countries - want the things to get back to normal. But what if yesterday’s normal was not so normal after all? Would we still rush to that with full throttle on?