Covid-19 killed around two million people in 2020. At the same time, the social and economic impact of the pandemic led to an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the biggest one-year decline on record.
As the pandemic is brought under control from 2021 onwards, by supplementing current control methods with vaccination, there are big opportunities to sustain the benefits of lower emissions for health and well-being. The direct benefits are fewer droughts, floods, heatwaves, storms and wildfires, and cleaner air. Indirect health benefits are expected from better nutrition, safe sanitation, energy-efficient health services, and jobs in the green economy, among others.
In this conversation, Sir Andy Haines (Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) and Chris Dye (Professor of Epidemiology, University of Oxford) consider how better health and well-being are both an argument for, and a consequence of, making progress towards “net zero” carbon emissions.