Government to study environmental impacts of coronavirus pandemic

Government to study environmental impacts of coronavirus pandemic
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The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) said Wednesday that it will begin to study the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the environment. 

NOAA scientists are looking for changes in atmospheric composition, weather, climate and precipitation as well as investigating the effects of short-term decreases in pollution and of reduced underwater noise levels on marine life, according to an agency statement

“This research is providing new insight into the drivers of change for our oceans, atmosphere, air quality, and weather,” Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator, said in the statement.

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Some researchers have already found slight decreases in fine particulate pollution in the eastern and western U.S., according to NOAA. 

Separate studies have also linked the economic slowdown caused by the virus to positive environmental impacts. 

The International Energy Agency recently found that during the first three months of 2020, global carbon dioxide emissions were 5 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2019. It predicted that emissions would decline this year by a record 8 percent. 

Meanwhile, reports have indicated that cities such as Los Angeles have seen reductions in air pollution. 

Environmental experts have also told The Hill that they expected to see a drop in air pollution in the U.S., although they warned that the changes would be merely a blip in a greater trend toward unsustainable levels of carbon dioxide emissions.