From the headlines, you might think COVID-19 is an environmental boon. The World Meteorological Association predicted global carbon emissions will drop six per cent in 2020— the largest annual reduction since the Second World War. But behind the feel-good baby fox memes lie far more threatening stories, about world governments using the pandemic as cover to roll back environmental protections.
On April 15, the United Nations issued an urgent global appeal after governments from several countries scrapped important regulations.
When China enforced isolation after the outbreak began in Wuhan, reductions in atmospheric pollution over huge parts of the country were visible to satellites after just one week. Unfortunately, that achievement may be short-lived now that China has suspended environmental standards for businesses to help them resume operations.