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All in it together - could lessons from the coronavirus crisis help tackle the climate emergency?

Caroline O'Doherty



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Burning issue: The emissions from the bushfire season in Australia could counteract any effect from the coronavirus shutdowns. Photo: PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Burning issue: The emissions from the bushfire season in Australia could counteract any effect from the coronavirus shutdowns. Photo: PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Burning issue: The emissions from the bushfire season in Australia could counteract any effect from the coronavirus shutdowns. Photo: PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Looking for a silver lining in a pandemic may seem a little crass but climate scientists couldn't help wondering what impact the curbing of travel and manufacturing in China was having on the world's largest carbon emitter.

Carbon Brief, the non-profit climate science website, calculated emissions last month were 25pc down on a typical February - a major drop given the scale of normal output.

As China's drastic actions are replicated around the world, including Ireland, the question is being asked whether coronavirus could stop rising emissions in their tracks, or at least prompt nations to reflect on how their citizens travel and work to see if there might be a less harmful way.