Even prior to COVID-19, Earth Day 2020 was set to be noteworthy as it marked the event’s 50th anniversary, however this year is even more poignant as ‘normal’ life is disrupted and we have time to consider issues that may otherwise pass unnoticed.
The pandemic-driven slowdown in economic activity is having an immediate impact on the environment with anecdotal tales of fish being visible in Venice’s canals and birdsong being more audible, supplemented by hard environmental data. EU CO2 emissions have fallen by an estimated 58%, as non-essential activity across the bloc has been suspended.
Air quality across the island of Ireland has also improved with the EPA reporting a 50% reduction in NO2 emissions. Even if these changes are the result of temporarily reduced economic activity, at a minimum it gives us all a glimpse of the kind of world that we could have. Amidst the dark clouds of the loss of life and economic headwinds there are some causes for optimism for the world’s environment on Earth Day 2020:
The KPMG Sustainable Futures team raises a toast to World Earth Day. While the current lockdown prevents physical events to mark this noteworthy anniversary, its symbolism and messaging remains as valid and important as ever, and we look forward to continuing to support our clients as they embrace the climate change and wider sustainability agenda within their own businesses.