This is an April 16, 2020, briefing on COVID-19 and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants to Climate and Clean Air Coalition partners.
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The COVID-19 crisis has upended the global economy, the way we work, the way we socialize, what we value, the way we learn, and many other aspects of our everyday lives. It has been catastrophic in many ways but also enlightening in many more. This crisis has shown us that billions of people are willing to make sacrifices for the common good. It has shown us how quickly air pollution levels can fall and how fast nature can bounce back if we stop polluting activities. And the crisis has enabled us to take a step back and look at changes that need to be made to benefit a greener economy, sustainable development, healthy ecosystems and a safer climate.
Members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) and other experts have been thinking about the relationship between air pollution, climate change and COVID-19. How they impact each other, and how the crisis must influence climate and clean air policies going forward.
In a paper published by the International Journal of Public Health on May 26, CCAC scientists and experts said it is important to understand the links between air pollution and increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and to prudently consider improved air quality as an additional measure to help reduce the burden placed on healthcare systems. As policymakers and leaders look for guidance on how to build back quickly from this pandemic, they need concrete examples and supporting information about the transformations and investments needed to reduce emissions while stimulating the economy.
The authors identified solutions that deliver economic and social objectives while simultaneously protecting air and climate saying, “By addressing climate, air pollution, and sustainable development as an integrated problem, we can identify technologies, lifestyle changes, and policy solutions that achieve multiple near-term benefits efficiently, sustainably, and often at lower cost than solutions that don’t consider both the economy and the environment”.
The paper calls on the global scientific and policy community to come together and provide the guidance and evidence to help the world build back better and have asked them to comment on the following questions:
COVID-19 has shown us that preparation and a fast and coordinated response is vital to success. We need to act fast, while also developing a long-term plan for success and to do this we need share information and technology honestly and openly. It has shown us that self-interest fails in the face of a global crisis. To succeed we need to all work together.
The CCAC works to reduce short-lived climate pollutants to rapidly reduce the rate of warming while supporting longer term efforts to reduce the impacts from long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. By reducing short-lived climate pollutants, we can rapidly flatten the climate curve, protect the most vulnerable and prevent dangerous climate feedbacks. The Coalition enables countries to work together and share knowledge and solutions.
You can access the paper here: Call for comments: climate and clean air responses to COVID-19
See how the CCAC Secretariat is responding to COVID-19 here.
The CCAC's Scietific Advisory Panel has also produced a Briefing on COVID-19 and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants and a Special Edition of its Research Digest, which collates emerging research into COVID-19; changes in emissions due to COVID-19; links between health, air pollution and COVID-19; and other relevant topics.
Our Expert Assistance is a no-cost service that connects you to an extensive network of professionals for consultation and advice on a range of short-lived climate pollution issues and policies.
Experts will provide guidance on technological options, mitigation measures (like those carried out by our initiatives), funding opportunities, application of measurement tools, and policy development.