CORONAVIRUS SCIENCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE are both real, undisputed and progressing pretty much as predicted. The “we are all in this together” approach to the virus is just as applicable to climate change. In 2021 all Americans will better understand climate change and want to do more to address it.
AIR TRAVEL is down 80 to 90% this month but has steadily increased since 2008. It is responsible for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions and is the largest part of an American’s carbon footprint. As is the case in Europe, in 2021 Americans will choose to reduce their discretionary air travel.
GASOLINE CONSUMPTION is down 30% and the price of crude oil is down from $60 to $20 this year. People are staying home. We are forcibly changing deeply embedded travel processes for working, learning, playing, and shopping. These new norms will likely continue into 2021
MEAT CONSUMPTION is down this month due to complicated shopping logistics and newly budget conscious shoppers. Growing livestock (and what livestock eats) takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, yet produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories. Forests, which act to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, are being cut down all over the world to provide more land for livestock. In 2021, meat consumption will likely decline.
GDP GROWTH is not the sole metric of societal health and welfare. US GDP is projected to decline in Q2 2020 by 30% or more. 3,000,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance this week. We accept these consequences to our economy to save lives. In 2021 and beyond, we will have to implement changes to our economy to limit the impacts of climate change. The sooner we start these changes, the better we can adapt.