There is no doubt that COVID-19 has reduced air pollution — just ask anybody who lives in Beijing, China — who for a month or two could see blue skies again before they got the virus under control and went back to business as usual.
This real-time demonstration of what happens following a reduction in fossil fuel emissions should convince everyone that an active decarbonization program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would provide similar results. In Central Oregon, our summer wildfires are creating an additional challenge in the form of air pollution that has similar effects on health as fossil fuel emissions.
In testimony on Aug. 5, to Congress, Professor Drew Shindell from Duke University reported on new research from his lab. He writes:
“The study estimates effects on the health and economic benefits to Americans if the United States and the rest of the world mitigate climate change to