The Covid-19 known as Coronavirus pandemic is truly a catastrophe on a human level, infecting huge numbers of people around the globe and killing many of them. The number of those infected is likely to continue for some time.
This virus has impacted everyone around the planet and has had serious consequences, from halting travel and isolating communities, closing down factories and workplaces and completely disrupting economic markets.
For instance, the international manufacturing industry hasn’t been hit so hard since the recession of 2009. The forecasts for US companies are not good, showing zero earnings growth. Airlines and cruise lines are taking a huge blow as people are unwilling or unable to travel. Many people may well be taking solace from the things they are not able to control, by playing at an online Vegas casino.
It is not surprising that this global situation has led to a reduction in energy demand which impacts and lessens greenhouse gas emissions. In China, their industrial output has fallen by 15% since the beginning of the crisis which has meant a reduction of approximately 25% of gas emissions during that time.
However, this situation is likely to be temporary and may well produce emissions growth as the situation improves and economies work to get things going again. We saw this after the financial crunch of 2008 when emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production increased by 5.9% in 2010 following a decrease of 1.4% at the time of the crisis.
World leaders are already looking for ways to support their individual economies which are likely to take a blow because of this pandemic. The ways in which they choose to do this will likely have long term effects and therefore should be considered very carefully. It will be important for leaders to avoid causing other health crises in their efforts to improve their economies by, for example, increasing air pollution. By boosting fossil fuel production this would be the outcome.
Health risks of increasing the use of fossil fuels
Millions of people around the globe die before their time because of air pollution. Fossil fuels released from power plants, factories and cars are the cause of at least two-thirds of these deaths. Researchers have pointed out that disease and early death linked to air pollution associated with road transport has already cost the OECD countries in the region of $1.7 trillion in 2010. As we know, air pollution and coronavirus has a greater impact on those with respiratory problems, like asthma, so increasing air pollution could actually make the situation much worse.
In response to earlier economic crises, we saw some countries invest in shovel-ready projects. Many of them building new infrastructure. These included developing more coal and fossil fuel power plants, improving roads and developing better automobile manufacturing. Choosing to follow this path once we have the COVID-19 situation under control would only increase air pollution and create more health problems that would likely create another health crisis.
The Chinese have taken the brunt of this lethal virus so far and they also have some of the greatest levels of air pollution. In China, in 2013, there were around 366,000 early deaths recorded that were linked to coal-related air pollution. At the same time, India is slated to have 22 out of the 30 most polluted cities on the planet. In November 2019, the government was forced to announce a public emergency situation in New Delhi when the atmosphere became so toxic. Schools were closed and people were advised to stay at home.
So, what should governments do to boost their economies after this disaster? They basically have two options. Either they pursue a path of polluting. A path that is basically inefficient and promotes unsustainable development or they can use this opportunity to make the change to low-carbon and more efficient energy and transport systems that will be more economically viable. This second option will deal with the problems of pollution and the growing problem of climate change.
The economic benefits of low-carbon development
There is a lot of evidence that shows that moving to low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the best way forward in terms of gaining long term economic and social benefits. Taking strong climate action could bring in around $26 trillion in global economic benefits by the year 2030 says the New Climate Economy report. This would involve the creation of more than 65 million low carbon jobs in 2030 – this represents the total labor-force of the UK and Egypt to date.
The same is true on a national level. One of the biggest economies in the world is that of Indonesia. The Ministry of Planning proposed a developmental path of low-carbon growth which will overtake the country’s present climate obligations and lead to a GDP growth rate of more than 6% by 2045.
All studies show that this low carbon path will go beyond the old way of doing things and bring huge economic, environmental and social benefits to Indonesia. These benefits will include an increase of some 15 million new jobs which are more environmentally friendly and these will be better paid, leading to less poverty.
A low-carbon, sustainable infrastructure must be at the forefront of any government proposals when responding to the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. Leaders have an important role in formulating and defining these strategies.
Investing now in sustainable infrastructure will create jobs today and will ultimately lead to more economic and social benefits in the long term. We see an example of this in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which ultimately led to the creation of around 900,000 clean energy jobs in America between 2009-2015.
Investments also need to be made to help communities build resilience to the impact of climate change. The report put out by the Global Commission on Adaptation says that investing in resilient infrastructure over the next 10 years in less developed countries will produce a $4.2 trillion net benefit over the infrastructure’s lifetime and a $4 benefit for every $1 invested.
Most CEOs and other business leaders are now more aware of the issues and are moving to low carbon activities and a more resilient economy. There are many big corporations and companies, totaling around $4 trillion in investments internationally, who have promised to move their investment portfolios to net-zero emission investments by the year 2050.
A lot more are also moving away from fossil fuel investments. Sustainable companies are doing better than those who are not. Those committed to 100% renewable power are doing far better than those who have not committed. Those companies managing and acting for climate change gain an 18% higher return on their investment than those who are not, and a huge 67% higher than those businesses who will not disclose their data.
Climate action is the answer to economic recovery and future prosperity
The Coronavirus outbreak has shown us that governments do have the know-how and ability to take quick and sweeping measures to deal with a crisis. We all need to become involved and act responsibly. It is important that we don’t respond to the immediate economic slump with bad long- term investments. Rather, the opportunity should be taken to push for measures to reduce air pollution and manage the climate crisis.
We need to address the serious problems of climate change by immediately cutting emissions. The time is ripe for this with all the newest developments and clean technologies plus the lowered costs.
Being forced into new ways of working because of the restrictions on travel, and limitations of people meeting together may prove to be helpful. This may help us to change our behavior and develop more sustainable ways of working by tapping into the benefits of virtual meetings and teleworking.
We have not chosen to be in this position but perhaps we can use this crisis to reevaluate our habits and make real changes that will impact our future for the good.
This coming year it is expected for countries to announce their climate commitments for 2030. It is hoped that we will get to a place of net-zero emissions globally by 2050.
Right now, everyone’s focus is on beating the COVID-19 virus and its economic after-effects. We need to find ways to kick start the economy but we must consider the future. Countries need to support their economies during times of crises but at the same time aim for long term sustainable growth. Climate action may be the way forward.
Role of Caregivers
After the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for caregiving or in-house nursing services will increase. Healthcare professionals play a vital role in the prevention and stoppage of the spread of COVID-19 today. It is expected that after the crisis, most people will still have trauma and would increase precaution by still confining themselves in their homes during the early weeks.
Caregivers from Tandem CarePlanning are ready to take the challenge to ensure vulnerable groups are healthy and safe from the after-effects of coronavirus. The elderly or senior population is at risk of complications brought about by viral infections, so caregiving services at home are most sought to avoid staying in crowded areas, such as hospitals and nursing homes.
At this time, caregivers are still active in providing excellent patient care among the elderly population across the country. All health and safety measures are now being implemented to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Here’s the role of caregivers after the coronavirus crisis:
- Caregivers will provide at-home healthcare services, including grooming, feeding, and medication administration, preventing vulnerable patients from going outside just to get assistance from a clinic or hospital.
- Caregivers can provide assistance when it comes to initiating telemedicine or online medical appointment, most especially patients who are less tech-savvy.
- Caregivers and housekeepers are front liners, providing more than healthcare services, including running short errands, like grocery or supermarket shopping.
- Caregivers provide first aid while waiting for emergency services, most especially to vulnerable groups – seniors, children, and those who are suffering from COVID-19 anxiety or trauma.
- Caregivers serve as coordinators between healthcare facilities and patients, most especially those who live at home alone, like senior citizens.
Surely, economic recovery would be challenging after the crisis. However, measures are now being taken to avoid drastic long-term impacts. Plans would include protecting the environment for safer air and living conditions, improving transport systems, and strengthening healthcare systems.
Caregivers greatly help with economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. They play an important role in continuously maintaining public health and safety by servicing clients at home.