Climate Change and Covid-19

The latest analysis, opinions and news about climate change and Covid-19 from Purdue University researchers.


The COVID-19 lockdowns: a window into the Earth System

Tom Hertel and co-authors examine the immediate and long-term Earth System responses to COVID-19 along two multidisciplinary cascades: energy, emissions, climate and air quality; and poverty, globalization, food and biodiversity.

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Pandemic Lessons: Open Data for Forest and Climate Action

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of data transparency, open data standards, and data-driven decision making. Jingjing Liang draws parallels with forest data management in this commentary.

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What the coronavirus can teach us about fighting climate change

In an interview with the Washington Post, PCCRC Director Jeff Dukes and others discuss strategies for communicating science in a time a misinformation.

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Is this the perfect time, or the worst time, to bend the climate change curve?

Countries, states, and communities around the world are rightly focused on the urgent task of minimizing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and thinking about how to plan for an economic recovery—but what are the implications for efforts to address the climate change crisis?

Here are 6 takeaways from a conversation with experts from Purdue University, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and

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Cues for Ethnography in Pandamning Times: Thinking with Digital Sociality in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 has made the world strange. For many, efforts to stall the pandemic have initiated an unprecedented enclosure of our lives within the familiar walls of our homes, while simultaneously increasing our reliance on digital media to maintain personal and professional connections. This reordering of social worlds and blurring of boundaries between our public lives and private spaces raises a fairly obvious anthropological question: in an online age, what is “social” about social distancing?

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Non-Compulsory Measures Sufficiently Reduced Human Mobility in Tokyo during the COVID-19 Epidemic

covid-19 and climate change

Abstract: While large scale mobility data has become a popular tool to monitor the mobility patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of non-compulsory measures in Tokyo, Japan on human mobility patterns has been under-studied. Here, we analyze the temporal changes in human mobility behavior, social contact rates, and their correlations with the transmissibility of COVID-19, using mobility data collected from more than 200K anonymized mobile phone users in Tokyo. The analysis concludes that by April 15th (1 week into state of emergency), human mobility behavior decreased by around 50%, resulting in a 70% reduction of social contacts in Tokyo, showing the effectiveness of non-compulsory measures. Furthermore, the reduction in data-driven human mobility metrics showed correlation with the decrease in estimated effective reproduction number of COVID-19 in Tokyo. Such empirical insights could inform policy makers on deciding sufficient levels of mobility reduction to contain the disease.

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Reflections on Pandemics, Civil Infrastructure and Sustainable Development:  Five Lessons from COVID‐19 through the Lens of Transportation

Abstract: Humanity’s social and economic development has been challenged by a range of adversities over the millennia that have caused widespread and unimaginable suffering. At the same time, these challenges have forced humans to evolve more wisely, overcoming adversity through creativity and leading to advancements in science and technology, medicine, ethics and legal systems, and socio‐political systems. The dynamics of risks and opportunities caused by COVID‐19, in the built, cyber, social and economic environments, present opportunities for deepening our understanding of resilient and sustainable development and infrastructure. This article reflects on five lessons that COVID‐19 is teaching us about what it means to develop sustainably through the lens of transportation: (1) sustainable development planning and analytical frameworks must be comprehensive, for long‐term sustainability; (2) multi‐modal transportation is a superior vision for sustainable development than any one particular mode; (3) tele‐activities are part of an effective infrastructure sustainability strategy; (4) economic capital is critically important to sustainable development even when it is not a critical existential threat, and, (5) effective social capital is essential in global disaster resistance and recovery, and can and must be leveraged between fast‐moving and slow‐moving disasters. Resilient and sustainable infrastructure will continue to be critical to addressing evolving natural and man‐made hazards in the 21st Century.

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COVID-19 Special Edition

As Covid-19 weaves its way through our communities and day-to-day lives, Purdue University researchers are helping make sense of our risks and responses so we can safely move forward.

In several areas specific to the environment, affiliates in both the Purdue University Center for the Environment and the PCCRC have made important contributions in areas ranging from water and food safety to implications of the pandemic for climate change, food chains and agricultural practices.