Coronavirus Jitters Rattle Businesses, Industries, Organizations — 2020 Olympics, Airlines Included
Efforts to contain the Wuhan coronavirus and fears that it can spread and form a global pandemic have slowed industries around the world.
Shipping is delayed, cars and electronics are stalled on the assembly line, and commodity markets around the world are predicting losses because of the virus. Fears around the virus even have Olympic officials worried that it could impact Tokyo's planning for the summer games scheduled for the end of July, according to CNN.
In Japan, 45 people have been infected with the novel virus so far, including 20 on a Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan.
"I am extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games," Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, said according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, as CNN reported. "I hope that it will be stamped out as soon as possible."
While the Olympics are nearly six months away, a more immediate impact is felt in global shipping which has faced a slowdown because of the coronavirus, according to CNN Business.
Nearly 80 percent of the world's goods are transported by sea and China is home to seven of the 10 busiest container ports. Nearby, Singapore and South Korea also have large ports.
The lockdown on certain cities and worries over the virus spreading means factories are shut and dockworkers are staying home. That stops many durables like cars and machinery as well as apparel and other consumer staples from getting shipped around the world, meaning the disruption could reach far beyond China, according to CNN Business.
Car manufacturer Hyundai has already suspended production at a South Korea plant because it can't get the parts it needs.
"A closure of the world's manufacturing hub impacts container shipping at large, as it is a vital facilitator of the intra-Asian and global supply chains," Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO, an international shipping association, said to CNN Business. "This will affect many industries and limit demand for containerized goods transport."
The mobile device industry is already feeling the effects. Just this week, industry giants LG and ZTE both announced that they would skip parts or all of the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona this month, according to The Verge.
"With the safety of its employees and general public foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain. This decision will prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised," an LG spokesperson said in a statement given to The Verge.
While global industries try to protect themselves from the coronavirus, it may have a positive effect on emissions. Airlines are cancelling flights between China and the U.S., as well as between Hong Kong and the U.S., according to CNN Travel. There has been a 30 percent decrease in flights to and from China. Key international airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa, American Airlines, United Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, suspended or reduced flights due to the outbreak, according to S&P Global.
That has led to a decrease in oil demand, sending the price of crude oil plummeting. There has also been sharp declines in the price of liquid natural gas, palm oil, copper and iron. The reduced demand may actually be a boon to emissions targets.
S&P Global noted that even a one percent drop in China's annual CO2 emissions from energy consumption would amount to 96 million metric tons of carbon removed from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to France's annual regulated CO2 emissions.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>