And it unwittingly calls attention to another macroeconomic risk: climate change.
Already claiming thousands of lives, and counting nearly 80,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the epidemic’s undue impact on China’s carbon dioxide emissions became a point of analysis for scientists in a report released last week.
The climate nonprofit Carbon Brief found China’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by as much as “25 percent or more,” from 400 million metric tons to 100 million metric tons of CO2, compared to the same two-week period following the Chinese new year holiday in 2019.
Because of precautionary canceled or suspended flights, the International Council on Clean Transportation estimates an 11 percent cut in global CO2 emissions from passenger flights in the same period.
All told, it’s the equivalent to a 6 percent reduction of global emissions over the same period, reaffirming the environmental impact of industrial output, especially with respect to daily coal and crude oil consumption.
Although a temporary and imprecise indicator as to how the country is sputtering back to business as usual, major multinational financial institutions are seeming to prioritize climate more, in a series of “green” initiatives unfolding over the past few months that signal a shifting global financial system.
Following Goldman Sachs’ aggressive mid-December announcement of halting funds to Arctic drilling and BlackRock’s chief executive officer Larry Fink’s January “letter to ceo’s;” J.P. Morgan Chase, reportedly the world’s leading financier of fossil fuels, got into the mix on Monday. The bank teased new climate-change initiatives to be revealed at an upcoming investor day, alongside a timid withdrawal from some fossil fuel developments.
While last Thursday, J.P. Morgan Research called the coronavirus a “material disruption for a global economy that is poised to accelerate this year;” asserting that the aftermath of which will not be fully recaptured until Q3 of this year, economists at the firm referred to climate-related risks more chillingly.
In a document for clients leaked to the press, J.P. Morgan economists expressed an inability to ignore the “catastrophic outcomes” of climate change.
With efforts to contain coronavirus showing a temporary blot to the country’s emissions — the Chinese government’s response “could outweigh these shorter-term impacts on energy and emissions.”
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