Climate Change and Planetary Health Post COVID.
Desmond Leddin, Dalhousie University, Canada
The objectives of this presentation are to address the question of whether the COVID pandemic represents a reset or simply a pause in the drivers of climate change and planetary health change. If global warming were to cease immediately other challenges to health such as pollution and biodiversity loss would continue. Planetary health takes these issues, and others into account. COVID led to a decrease in travel and economic activity with a resultant decease in greenhouse gas emissions. The decrease of about 7% will result in an insignificant decrease in warming of 0.01°C, which is currently increasing by 0.2°C per decade. There is no evidence of a long-term effect of COVID on biodiversity loss or pollution. The changes induced by COVID on health care may be more positive with an increased acceptance of online care and education. Economies are recovering at different rates from the pandemic. Whether the economic downturn of COVID hinders the transition to a greener source of energy remains to be seen. We need to proceed urgently with measures to reduce carbon emissions.