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Positive effects of Coronavirus on environment

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The skies have cleared around Beirut, Lebanon – a city known for high levels of air pollution (Credit: Getty Images)

It is all aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19, and hopefully reducing the death toll. But all this change has also led to some unexpected consequences. As industries, transport networks and businesses have closed down, it has brought a sudden drop in carbon emissions. Compared with this time last year, levels of pollution in New York have reduced by nearly 50% because of measures to contain the virus.

In China, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home, factories shuttered and coal use fell by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. The proportion of days with “good quality air” was up 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China, according to its Ministry of Ecology and Environment. In Europe, satellite images show nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions fading away over northern Italy. A similar story is playing out in Spain and the UK.

Only an immediate and existential threat like Covid-19 could have led to such a profound change so fast; at the time of writing, global deaths from the virus had passed 119,732 , with more than 1,926,305 cases confirmed worldwide. As well as the toll of early deaths, the pandemic has brought widespread job losses and threatened the livelihoods of millions as businesses struggle to cope with the restrictions being put in place to control the virus. Economic activity has stalled and stock markets have tumbled alongside the falling carbon emissions. It’s the precisely opposite of the drive towards a decarbonised, sustainable economy that many have been advocating for decades.

With crowds gone, popular tourist sites around the world have reported lower pollution levels
(Credit: Getty Images)

The reduction in emissions then was largely due to reduced industrial activity, which contributes carbon emissions on a comparable scale to transport. Combined emissions from industrial processes, manufacturing and construction make up 18.4% of global anthropogenic emissions. The financial crash of 2008-09 led to an overall dip in emissions of 1.3%. But this quickly rebounded by 2010 as the economy recovered, leading to an all-time high.

One factor that could influence whether or not these emissions bounce back is how long the coronavirus pandemic lasts. “At the moment that’s hard to predict,” says Pongratz. “But it could be that we see longer-term and more substantial effects. If the coronavirus outbreak continues to the end of the year then consumer demand could remain low because of lost wages. Output and fossil fuel use might not recover that quickly, even though the capacity to do so is there.”

Overall 2020 may still see a drop in global emissions of 0.3% – less pronounced than the crash of 2008-09

The OECD predicts that the global economy will still grow in 2020, albeit growth predictions have fallen by half because of coronavirus. But even with this recovery, researchers such as Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo have noted that overall 2020 may still see a drop in global emissions of 0.3% – less pronounced than the crash of 2008-09, but also with an opportunity for less rebound if efforts to stimulate the economy are focused towards sectors such as clean energy.

Source: BBC

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Science

Chinese Rocket Segment Plunges Back To Earth, Crashes Near Maldives

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Beijing:

A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, the Chinese space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down.

Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the free falling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China’s new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.

But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved irresponsibly, as an uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object risked damage and casualties.

“After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

It added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during descent.

The US military’s Space Command said the rocket “re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 pm EDT on May 8 (0215 GMT Sunday)”.

“It is unknown if the debris impacted land or water.”

Monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said that the location in Saudi Arabia was where American systems last recorded it.

“Operators confirm that the rocket actually went into the Indian Ocean north of the Maldives,” it tweeted.

The segment’s descent matched expert predictions that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 percent of the planet is covered by water.

Because it was an uncontrolled descent, there was widespread public interest and speculation about where the debris would land.

American and European space authorities were among those tracking the rocket and trying to predict its re-entry.

Accusations of negligence

Objects generate immense amounts of heat and friction when they enter the atmosphere, which can cause them to burn up and disintegrate. But larger ones such as the Long March-5B may not be destroyed entirely.

Their wreckage can land on the surface of the planet and may cause damage and casualties, though that risk is low.

Last year, debris from another Chinese Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

That, and the one that came down Sunday, are tied for the fourth-biggest objects in history to undergo an uncontrolled re-entry, according to data from Harvard-based astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

The uncertainty and risks of such a re-entry sparked accusations that Beijing had behaved irresponsibly.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested last week that China had been negligent, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson echoed that after the re-entry on Sunday.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” Nelson said in a statement.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

China’s space ambitions

To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket — which is not equipped for a controlled descent.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” McDowell tweeted.

“It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”

Chinese authorities had downplayed the risk, however.

“The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.

Beijing has poured billions of dollars into space exploration to boost its global stature and technological might.

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Environment

EU Plans to Raise €20bn a Year to Protect Biodiversity

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New procedure to ensure nature incorporates extensive living space assurances, and limitations on pesticide use – however campaigners caution requirement is critical

Credit:GettyImages

The European Commission has focused on securing 30% of the EU’s property and seas by 2030 as a feature of the European Green Deal, in an arrangement probably invited by environment groups who cautioned sweeping aspirations must not just exist “on paper”.

The EU believes that recovery from COVID-19 with biodiversity in mind will be key to restoring the health of both the environment and the economy.

The proposed methodology focuses around setting up restricting focuses to re-establish harmed environments and waterways and bringing back pollinators to agraricultural land, while diminishing contamination, greening its urban communities, improving natural and biodiverse cultivating.

In its push to improve forests wellbeing, some portion of the arrangement is to actualize stricter assurances and rebuilding projectss for the staying essential and old development backwoods of Europe as ahead of schedule as one year from now.

This is especially important when researchers suggest that 60% of species assessed on the continent are in decline.

For The Future

Biodiversity will receive another head start as the EU proposes changes to the agricultural landscape of Europe in a way that supports wildlife and pollinators. Such changes would include creating “high-diversity landscapes” in 10% of Europe’s farming acreage by hosting features like ponds, hedgerows, buffer strips between fields, and fallow land.

Some experts are skeptical, but hopeful, the changes are implemented.

“It’s a big if, but then you are starting to look at healthy agriculture that can provide habitats for farmland birds and butterflies but also agriculture that can actually provide food at the end of the century,” Ariel Brunner, senior head of policy at Brussel’s BirdLife International said to the Guardian.

Wildlife in France, by Martina Misar-Tummeltshammer

The 2030 strategy would reinforce Europe’s natural plasticity by dealing with agriculture and fisheries using the Farm to Fork strategy.

“The strategy sets concrete targets to transform the EUs food system, including a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of pesticides, a reduction by at least 20% of the use of fertilizers, a reduction by 50% in sales of antimicrobials used for farmed animals and aquaculture, and reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic farming,” reads the report.

The European Commission, which has position to authorize European law, closes wraps up by approaching the European Parliament and Council to embrace the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity gauges by 2021.

Credits:TheGuardian

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Carbon Emission Dropped 17-Percentage Globally

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Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

The coronavirus pandemic has constrained nations around the globe to authorize strict lockdowns, seal boarders and scale back economic activities. Presently, an analysis published on Tuesday shows that these measures added to an estimated 17 percent decrease in day by day worldwide carbon dioxide discharges contrasted with day by day worldwide averages from 2019.

It’s a worldwide drop that scientists say could be the largest in recorded history.

At the height of coronavirus confinements in early April, daily carbon dioxide emissions around the world decreased by roughly 18.7 million tons compared to average daily emissions last year, falling to levels that were last observed in 2006, according to the new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Changes in transportation, industrial activities and air travel in nations under lockdown could also support a decrease in this year’s annual carbon emissions of up to 7 percent, the study found. Though significant, scientists say these declines are unlikely to have a long-term impact once countries return to normal unless governments prioritize investments and infrastructure to reduce harmful emissions.

“Globally, we haven’t seen a drop this big ever, and at the yearly level, you would have to go back to World War II to see such a big drop in emissions,” said Corinne Le Quéré, a professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., and the study’s lead author. “But this is not the way to tackle climate change — it’s not going to happen by forcing behavior changes on people. We need to tackle it by helping people move to more sustainable ways of living.”

The study found that the most sharpest decrease in carbon discharges — making up 43 percent of the all out diminishing — originated from diminished traffic from vehicles, transports and trucks. Discharges from modern exercises, which were inclined down generously in the hardest-hit countries, fell by 19 percent.

Discharges from air travel, which encountered an amazing 75 percent drop in every day action toward the beginning of April, fell by 60 percent. That decline, nonetheless, made up a little segment of the general decline since air travel normally represents just 2.8 percent of yearly worldwide carbon discharges.

In early April, the deepest decreases in daily global carbon emissions — 17 percent declines compared to daily averages last year — lasted for about two weeks, according to Jackson. Individual countries saw an average drop in emissions of 26 percent at the peak of their lockdowns, which occurred earlier for several countries in Asia, where the coronavirus emerged in late December, and more recently for parts of Europe and North America.

The study didn’t represent how worldwide discharges could be influenced by new outbreaks and resulting wave of diseases, yet almost certainly, such occasions could prompt more extreme decreases in emanations this year and perhaps into 2021.

Although its good to know that the skies are getting clearer than before.

Credits:NBCNews

Why The Humanity Post?

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