March 30, 2020

The coronavirus is doing some strange things to our carbon footprints

The War on Plastic is subsiding, and air pollution is disappearing.

In some places, the skies are clearer and the streets are cleaner. But we’re setting down our bamboo travel knives in the War on Plastic, and reusable bags went out of fashion quick.

Those are just a few of the unusual ways that the new coronavirus has changed the shape of our carbon footprints.

That means blue skies for Mother Earth 

Air pollution in some European cities is down significantly thanks to widespread lockdowns. In Madrid, average nitrogen dioxide levels dropped by 56%.

Meanwhile, the oil market is evaporating. On Monday, US oil prices dropped to an 18-year low.

At the same time, Big Plastic is making a comeback

The plastic-bag lobby (yes, that’s a thing) is trying to throw out bans on single-use bags. Last week, Massachusetts did just that, and also said reusable ones would be verboten.

The goal is to reverse the spread of COVID-19, but the science behind the germy debate is hotly contested.

The long-term forecast might not be so sunny

The global garbage biz is expecting to deal with a giant, stinking pile of medical waste.

When the pandemic eventually subsides, experts say global emissions could shoot back up unless governments place permanent restrictions on industrial manufacturing.

And analysts are worried that growth in renewable-energy projects could be “wiped out” this year, reversing recent gusts in the wind and solar-power markets.

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