Guest essay by Eric Worrall
More evidence some climate activists celebrated the lockdown loss of freedom as a step in the right direction.
Climate explained: will the COVID-19 lockdown slow the effects of climate change?
July 1, 2020 5.11am AEST
Professor, University of Canterbury
The COVID-19 lockdown has affected the environment in a number of ways.
The first is a reduction in air travel and associated emissions. Globally, air travel accounts for around 12% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and this was predicted to rise. An ongoing reduction in air travel would lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Keeping some lockdown changes
In many parts of the world, governments are implementing plans to lock in some of the reductions in traffic caused by the pandemic.
There are also initiatives to decarbonise the car fleet by replacing fossil fuelled vehicles with electric ones. In New Zealand, electric vehicles are exempt from road user charges and the government is investigating ways to increase the uptake of alternative fuels in the road freight industry.
These measures are important and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they are not designed to reduce the number of people travelling, or the mode they use. Congestion is an ongoing issue in Auckland and is now estimated to cost more than NZ$1 billion per year.
Encouraging some of the lockdown behavioural changes could have additional benefits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.Read more: https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-will-the-covid-19-lockdown-slow-the-effects-of-climate-change-141604
Professor Kingham claims people will still have the same freedom to travel.
But not everyone can get about by bicycle, and electric vehicles will remain too expensive for many people for the foreseeable future, especially if renewable energy is used to process the raw material for all those batteries.