Climate change in a pandemic context: what happened with our planet?

Despite the COVID-19 and its intended positive effects on the environment, the only thing that was reduced by the confinement was mobility, not overall energy consumption.  

According to different sources and research, it seems that 2020 would be among the hottest years in history, after 2016 and 2019.

According to an article published by the United Nations News, CO2 levels this year set a new record, reaching xx in 2019, and this year they seem to be exceeding that. According to the WMO

In accordance with a statement by WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas, quoted in the UN article, we had already passed the global threshold of 400 parts per million by 2015 and only four years later, we crossed the 410 ppm mark, reaching a historical record in the records. The reduction of carbon emissions during the lockdown was only a small point on the long-term graph (4-7 per cent only this year). Petteri argues that a more sustained flattening of the curve is needed.

How does this impact the environment?

In some places we saw record temperatures as in Siberia, where the highest temperatures were reached at the time in the north of the Arctic Circle.

On the other hand, in Europe, January and October were the hottest months in history.

As for Canada, Brazil, India and Australia, they were among the few countries where the temperatures were below those of previous years.

Who were the most affected by this increase in temperature?

Somewhere all this heat is concentrated, and there are places that are the most affected, such as the oceans. 

According to an article in xxx, at least 80% of the world’s water experienced a sea heat wave this year. This causes negative effects on marine ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them.

This is on the rise and has increased more than 20 times in the last 40 years. 

Another problem is the warming of the glaciers and as a consequence their melting and disappearance. In Greenland, more than 152 billion tons of ice were lost from the ice sheet in the year up to August 2020.

Forest fires, increased storms and hurricanes and flooding in Africa and Southeast Asia are other effects of global warming that are affecting not only its habitants but also our planet.

The urgency is now, the impacts are growing and action must be taken now. 

United Nations News. (23 November 2020). Carbon dioxide levels hit new record; COVID impact ‘a tiny blip’, WMO says. United Nations News. Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/11/1078322


McGrath, M. (2 December 2020). Climate change: 2020 set to be one of the three warmest years on record. BBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55150910