Is social distancing and working from home actually impacting Climate Change? A lot has happened so far in 2020 (!) First and foremost we need acknowledge the pain and suffering being experienced by families globally. It is also important to recognise that from every terrible situation, we can grow as individuals, communities and as a planet. In this post we’ll look at wether or not social distancing and working from home has in fact impacted climate change and if it has, what can we learn from what we are currently experiencing.
The only way to assess the impact of working form home on climate change is to look at the current data. Eco Experts, an eco-friendly, expert home energy company have published a new analysis that has collated figures around the decrease of UK pollution. This decrease of UK pollution is due to governmental social distancing measures, quarantine, self-isolation and working from home. It focuses on the pollution output decrease of five main areas, public transport, road vehicles, air travel, energy usage, and the effect on London AKA the UK’s most polluted city.
Cold Hard Facts On Climate Change
Here is the drop in CO2e tonnes by each area:
- Public transport – Of course we all know that public transport was virtually empty compared to regular rush hours, with most people able to work from home. Data shows that 1.89 million tonnes less CO2e due to journeys falling to just 11.77% of normal levels.
- Road vehicles – Cities and motorways were silent due to regular commuters staying home. Figures show that 15.18 million tonnes less CO2e due to a 52.56% drop in road usage.
- Air travel – The figures are staggering again with very few people flying during lockdown. 6.94 million tonnes less – due to flights falling by 69% or 295,713 flights.
- Energy usage – 6.44 million tonnes less – Though home energy consumption rose by up to 30%, overall demand has fallen 15% due to the save in business usage. This saved 6.4 million tonnes.
- London pollution drop – 1.17 million tonnes of CO2e – due to the 12-week 97.2% population decrease in the capital
“Lockdown UK pollution decrease shows CO2e emissions dropped 30 million tonnes”– The Eco Experts
Eco Experts writer and analyst Josh Jackman comments: “We’re very happy with how close our initial prediction was. We said the COVID-19 lockdown would reduce CO2e emissions by 28.22 million metric tonnes, and it’s declined by 30.45.
“This is an astounding figure, more than London emits over a whole year. It shows we have the power to reduce harmful pollution, improve our air quality, and fight climate change – if we decide to.– Josh Jackman, Eco Experts
“The main message from our data is that driving is the biggest emissions culprit. UK traffic didn’t fall as far as it could have, maintaining 53% of its usual level – and yet, that decline alone saved 15 million tonnes of CO2e.
“Public transport travel fell by 88 percentage points. Air travel dropped by 69. But the combined 8.8 million tonnes of CO2e wiped out by these modes of travel doesn’t get close to road vehicles’ savings.
So, What Lessons Can We Learn?
Working on the presumption that the virus will be eradicated and restrictions lifted, what are the take home lessons and actions we can all take?
- As an employer, allow your staff to work form home a couple of days a week.
- As an employee, ask if your employer if can work from home a little more.
- Think about remote working opportunities, start an online business.
- If you have a long commute, look into job opportunities nearer to your home.
- Cut down on driving your car on short journeys or to places accessible by train.
- Switch to driving an electric car or get a bicycle.
- Try going on staycations instead of flying as much.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from these results, and take action. It shouldn’t require a global pandemic for us to effectively combat climate change.”