COVID-19 and the climate emergency: lessons in the time of crisis?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The COVID-19 pandemic and arising public health protection measures have highlighted the complex relationship between human activities and the natural environment. Existing global trajectories for carbon emissions and patterns of environmental degradation pose a fundamental future risk for planetary health. Disruptive changes associated with the pandemic have to date exerted mixed effects on pollutant emissions, demand for natural resources and ecosystem management, with major implications for environmental policy. Positive benefits include temporary improvements in air, noise and water quality and reductions in carbon emissions across multiple sectors and settings. Negative consequences include disruption to global energy supplies, increased plastics usage and delays to national and international environmental negotiations and legislative processes. Emerging evidence suggests pandemic economic and environmental recovery policies must seek to radically redefine existing production and consumption patterns to harness positive benefits, to enable effective adaptation and mitigation strategies against potentially catastrophic consequences of the global climate crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving with Pandemics
Subtitle of host publicationPlaces, People and Policy
EditorsJohn R. Bryson, Lauren Andres, Aksel Ersoy , Louise Reardon
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781800373594
ISBN (Print)9781800373587
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021


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