The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on climate change and air quality: four country case studies

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Abstract

The emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with global challenges in both energy supply and demand. Numerous articles have discussed the potential benefits of COVID-19 for our planet to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollutants. By bringing the emissions from the energy production together with the air quality indicators, this article studies the impact on climate change and human health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequent changes in energy policies of governments as well as lifestyles in different societies. This study shows that in spite of having a reduction, the GHG emissions might go back to previous or higher levels if governments do not see this pandemic as an opportunity to promote the use of renewable energies, which are becoming cheaper than non-renewables. Additionally, lower energy demand and less anthropogenic activities do not necessarily result in lower GHG emissions from energy production. Our results highlight the need for revising the policies and decisions of both governments and citizens, as temporary reductions in the levels of energy demand and air pollutants can easily be counterbalanced by adverse effects, known as the ‘rebound effect.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Sustainability
Volume4
Issue numbere9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021

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