Slowdown of human activity was too short to reverse years of destruction, but we saw a glimpse of post-fossil fuel world
When lockdown began, climate scientists were horrified at the unfolding tragedy, but also intrigued to observe what they called an “inadvertent experiment” on a global scale. To what extent, they asked, would the Earth system respond to the steepest slowdown in human activity since the second world war?
Environmental activists put the question more succinctly: how much would it help to save the planet?
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• Temperatures stayed over 34C for six consecutive days last week in the UK, the longest such run since comparable records began in the 1960s