Published: March 2020 (5 Min Read)

Many thanks to NASA for this pair of images. The change in air quality being the result of shutdowns caused by COVID-19, it is difficult to say this is positive, but it is nevertheless interesting.

Man-made emissions have clearly affected air quality in urban China. Visitors to Beijing would probably testify that there have been improvements in the last few years, but there remains plenty to be done, as can be seen here.

Residents of Beijing and other cities in China and beyond suffer from respiratory diseases, sometimes as a result of air quality. COVID-19 would exacerbate this but is a separate health issue.

Yesterday I attended a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, and he expressed firmly China’s commitment to ameliorating climate concerns whether in China or elsewhere.

The move away from fossil fuels is happening, but it will probably take decades to achieve fully. Timing of exits from oil and gas companies will always be difficult for those considering it.

Some such companies will transform themselves into new businesses with green energy operations, while others may divest themselves of assets such as coal. There is no single strategy, and these are often very large companies with large potential investments to make in climate friendly initiatives. They may cause carbon emissions, but some may also drive the solutions. It is important to understand who is doing what, and what you hope they will do on your behalf before acting.

The biggest emitters may do most to help you breathe more easily.