Torbjorn Zetterlund

Wed 13 2020

The world can’t afford to drop the ball again

by bernt & torsten

We are all sharing a similar experience with the coronavirus pandemic, which we all remember in the future as the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. Each country has adopted different restrictions, we still all affected by what has taken place.

During this time of restrictions, it has given me time to study data science, and I wrote about the air I breathe which did not show that the air had become that much better near my home in Amsterdam. I have dug into the data in more detail and read a few science papers.

The observatory at Mauna Loa, Hawaii reported the other day a new CO2 record, despite the fact that aircraft are on the ground and factory work has stopped, the carbon dioxide content had passed 418 ppm in the atmosphere. How is that possible?

One reason is cyclical variations, when plants that bind carbon decay on large landmasses, but records that are now being struck also depend on the emissions that occurred before the corona crisis, and that the emission reductions are not as large as we think.

Forced to flee

In 50 years, a third of the world’s population may be forced to flee, as they live in such an extremely hot climate, say researchers from China, the US, and Europe in a new climate study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. At least if nothing is done to stop global warming. For every degree that the earth’s average temperature rises, another 1 billion people are at risk of being forced into an extremely hot climate.

We also got a taste of the heat effects of the extreme heat up close. In the summer of 2003, 35,000 people in Europe died from the heatwave. In the hot summer of 2018, higher mortality was observed in Sweden, the drought damaged agriculture and led to forest fires that required international assistance.

Large parts of the planet were hit significantly worse. In 2018 alone, over 17 million people were forced to leave their homes due to climate impact and natural disasters, extreme weather events that have doubled over the past 20 years. Heatwaves will become more and more common as global warming progresses.

Lack of readiness

We are in the midst of a global crisis, but at the same time must prepare for and prevent another. Many countries have weakened their resilience to a pandemic or other catastrophe, we have read that there was no protective equipment, no buffer keeping, and coordination of drug supply, no food depots, no domestic vaccine factories. Regions have switched to “just in time” deliveries.

The threat of a pandemic was clear, after infections such as mers and sars, but the important preparations were missing. Countries cannot afford to drop the ball now. Corona pandemic is a bleak reminder of the importance of preventing a crisis while time is there, nobody is talking about life after the coronavirus.

There has to be some good in this situation, right? We’re not destined to go back to the dark ages and die a horrible death, surely? I don’t believe so. It’s time to consider life after the pandemic from an optimist’s point of view. That’s what this article will explore.

Here are a few things I like to see change.

Universal basic income

I would like to see governments implement universal basic income, it would be a great support for unemployed and vulnerable people in our society. In the time off pandemic a universal basic income will help the unemployed people and for the recovery after a pandemic our other global events.

Daylight saving time

Abandon the Daylight saving time, it gives us no advantages, I also would like to abandon banking holiday, what is the purpose of having a holiday because the banks are closed. We still could have a holiday and call it something else.

Hug or Handshake

Humans are never going to hug the same way again as we are not going to have the trust in the person we would normally hug. I think we should treat ourselves with a fist pump.

Going Outside

After this is over we will be spending more time outdoors with various activities. Going outside could be so good? It sure beats looking at the screens of your devices while ignoring your fellow human beings. When we’re outdoors, our mind resets.

Working From Home

It would have taken years to have worked from home become the norm. Micromanagers all over the world will be furious at coronavirus, as it has shown us that working from home works.

As big cities struggle with housing, working from home will allow the business to downsize their office space and newly available office space can be turned into housing for people.

Of course, not all businesses will stick with working from home going forward, though. If you intend to return your employees to the office, you might want to read the return to work guidelines by Zenefits.

Washing Hands

I hope we all learned from the washing hands and that we are continuing to do that. Soap can save our lives, and that idea was lost before these corona times.

A Salary Without a Bonus

Those entitled folk who treat annual bonuses like their birthright are going to be grateful after corona times. Just having a job is going to seem incredible when this is over. A bonus is a privilege, and I’m grateful that the coronavirus reminded us all of that.

Cashless payments everywhere

Who wants to carry around clunky, dirty coins and bills, which you constantly have to re-stock from an ATM in an inconvenient location?

No matter how advanced your country is in terms of paying cashless, chances are, the share of those payments will only increase.

A Financial Buffer

The amount of buffer we need to survive a challenging time is going to change after all of this. Many of us have been caught out by not having put enough money aside to weather a storm nobody could see coming. We will never save or invest the same way again.

Less spending on needless consumer goods

Who feels like buying fancy clothes now? Who cares about VIP tickets? When you’re forced to reduce your expectations and stop living large, you gain space to reflect. A common conclusion is, “Oh, I never needed this, to begin with.”


I hope we going to learn from this and take climate change as seriously as we have taken the coronavirus pandemic. If the political will is there we can do it. The worst thing we can do is to go back to how it was before if we do that the climate change will never happen.

Green investments must lead the way out of the corona crisis. Investments in high-speed trains, on flights with climate requirements, on expanded electricity grids, on electric vehicles, on renewable energy sources, on new travel routines, on significantly greater local production of goods. Investments that in turn would result in lots of new jobs. A job that must be done globally.