When pandemic is over, lets fix the climate crisis

The coronavirus lockdown gives us time to reflect on what type of world we want. Every kilogramme of carbon dioxide we emit to the atmosphere, not only increases global temperature, but accumulates. We are ratcheting up global temperatures for our children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Globalisation is seen as the new world order, but information and goods should travel, not us.

We shall have to stop using all hydrocarbons for fuel, so planes must either be battery powered for short hops or hydrogen for longer journeys. Hydrogen can be made from renewable energy, but this form of energy is also required to replace energy presently supplied by fossil fuels. It is likely therefore that flying will shrink to a fraction of the current rate. For disease, air travel has transformed a virus outbreak in China to a world pandemic. Future pandemics could follow.

So now is the time for change. Frivolous hen and stag parties to distant lands should cease. Holidaying using rail or bus rather than flying should be the norm. Cruise ships, now seen as air polluting, disease incubation factories, should be discouraged. International sporting teams should travel to international sporting fixtures, but not fans. They can watch at home. Homes will be heated by electricity from renewables, with good insulation and sealing to minimise energy consumption. Bikes, electric scooters, electric cars and electric lorries will replace fossil fuel powered transport. Imported manufactures should be repairable, to allow a proportion of restorative manufacture back to the UK. A shift from spending on consumer durables and leisure activities to funding the social care sector will be needed to pay decent wages for staff, if UK nationals are to be recruited.

The coronavirus has resulted in our transport infrastructure shrinking world-wide, tour firms in melt down, cruises cancelled and pubs, cinemas and restaurants closed down. Technical fixes such as industrial carbon capture are unlikely to save us.  Once the pandemic is over, let’s not return to a business-as-usual, live-only-for-today lifestyle. Resurrecting our economy is easier if it starts from a low-level post coronavirus, rather than from our usual hectic world. Let’s fast track our way from a major downturn to a sustainable future. The loss of visits to overhyped foreign tourist destinations in favour of nearer destinations may not be missed. We will be en route for a new and exciting sustainable future, initiated by a tiny piece of protein. Indeed, we may thank the coronavirus for bringing us to our senses.