More than 6,000 people in the UK have died from COVID-19, and the country has yet to reach its peak in terms of cases. The entire country has been left bruised by the coronavirus outbreak on these shores, but experts believe there is one positive to take.
Environmental analysis firm the Eco Experts believe the UK’s CO2e emissions – which is the standard measure of a nation’s carbon footprint – is going to fall drastically over the coming weeks and, potentially, months.
With the country still on lockdown, there will be a huge drop in pollution, with CO2e emissions over the next 12 weeks, according to Eco Experts.
By cross-referencing calculated estimations of non-vital workers staying at home in isolation against pollution rates of each area, CO2e emissions are set to drop by 28.22 million tonnes in total.
The team state there will be a 90 percent reduction in road vehicle usage, which will contribute an emissions drop of 24.5 million tonnes.
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UK flights, according to the analysis, will fall by at least 45 percent, causing a drop of 1.31 million tonnes.
And while home energy usage will rise, the reduction of business energy usage will offset this by 1.72 million tonnes.
Eco Experts writer and analyst Josh Jackman said: “The UK’s CO2e emissions are set to drop by 28.22 million tonnes during the first 12 weeks of lockdown, as cars leave the roads and planes stay out of the skies.
“97 percent of the population is staying home, and the longer that happens, the more pollution levels will drop – perhaps the only positive consequence from this global crisis.”
However, Mr Jackman said this data could change depending on how the lockdown progresses.
He continued: “All of the above comes with the caveat that the crisis may last longer than 12 weeks, and consequently lead authorities to more severely restrict people’s movements than they have done so far.
“It’s also near-impossible to calculate the impact the virus will have on manufacturing or agriculture, or the ways in which it will change how we function as a society.
“And of course, the foremost issue is the immense loss of human life that will come from this global pandemic.
“We’re reducing pollution and emissions so we can save humanity, after all.”
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Previous analysis from Stanford University found the drop in nitrogen dioxide across the planet could save tens of thousands of lives.
Environmental resource economist Marshall Burke has calculated that the two months of pollution reduction has saved the lives of 4,000 children under five and 73,000 adults over 70 in China.
That is around 70,000 more lives saved than the coronavirus outbreak has killed.
Mr Burke wrote on the blog G-FEED: “Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural – if admittedly strange – question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself.
“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes’.”
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