Increased Digital Use Due to Covid & Environmental Impact

Copenhagen, Denmark: “Fingers” are pointed at Corporations and Bankers as the drivers of climate change during the UNFCCC (2009) Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Why going digital in pandemic times might not be as green as you think

Corona Times 8 May 2020

A.R.E. Taylor

Amidst the unfolding horror of the coronavirus pandemic, the industrial and economic shutdown has ostensibly provided us with an eye-opening glimpse of what the world might look like without fossil fuels.

In a classic post-apocalyptic trope, wildlife has been photographed supposedly returning to the Venice lagoon, leading to proclamations that “nature is taking back Venice”. Restrictions on travel have led to global reductions in transportation emissions. As urban air quality levels improve, the risks of asthma, heart attacks and lung disease associated with air pollution have decreased. It has been suggested that this fall in pollution has allegedly saved more lives than those lost due to Covid-19.

Satellite images released by the European Space Agency have played a leading role in the visual economy of the “nature is healing” narrative, visualising the decreasing carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions across China, northern Italy and elsewhere.

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