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Waylon Allen
Waylon Allen

Andra Ft. Rodrigo Massa - How Could I Have Know... ##BEST##

Other structural changes may also take place, such as changes in sufficiency measures and broader productivity, leading to macro-economic rebound effects (Lemoine 2017). The pandemic may increase the social acceptance of sufficiency measures such as working less time, spending more time with family and friends, or connecting with nature. These measures have long been proposed to reduce consumption and associated environmental impacts (Hayden and Shandra 2009). These measures have, however, been associated with macro-economic price rebound effects as the decreased demand for some products can lower their price and induce additional demand (Sorrell et al. 2020). Moreover, the post-pandemic society may likely be a more productive one in labour and capital terms. For example, teleworking (Harker Martin and MacDonnell 2012) and increased spending in research and development have been associated with productivity growth, which boosts economic growth and resource use.

Andra Ft. Rodrigo Massa - How Could I Have Know...

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely cause a range of changes in society, but their permanence and effect on the environment are unclear, especially if we contemplate the secondary effects of behaviour, measures and policies. A key question is whether they will acquire a certain level of permanence, even modifying the mindsets of agents. Given the high uncertainty around this aspect, its real dimension could only be assessed ex-post. However, due to confinements, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the expansion and use of general-purpose technologies, like ICT. As this has been a long-observed trend, before the irruption of the virus, they have probably come to stay to a large degree.

Nevertheless, the pandemia has not had the same effect on air quality in all the major cities in the region. In Mexico City, the reductions in SO2, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations have been modest, and there has been no reduction in ozone.Footnote 16 In Rio de Janeiro, ozone concentrations have increased (Dantas et al. 2020). Furthermore, as the virus and its negative consequences spread across rural areas and make its way through the southernmost part of the region, outdoor and indoor pollution might actually increase. In Mexico, as well as in other countries in the region, the use of firewood is likely to rise as rural households try to deal with income reductions (Masera et al. 2020). Meanwhile, as winter hits central and southern Chile, urban households might increase their use of firewood for heating given that, due to the lockdowns, they have to spend more time inside dwellings (Encinas et al. 2020). This rise in air pollution could arguably increase the risks associated with COVID-19.

COVID-19 has caused a disruption in the national and international trade of nature-based goods and services. Tourism has come to a halt, affecting the economy of almost all of the countries in the region (Mooney and Zegarra 2020). In countries like Costa Rica, where the touristic industry is intertwined with nature, the shock to the sector could have negative effects for biodiversity and forests. Without income from tourism, and given that as a slow recovery process is anticipated, the incentives to protect forests are expected to decrease in the short and medium run. Fishing and aquaculture are other industries that have been negatively affected. Information for the case of the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry suggests that there has been a reduction in demand from international markets (Chávez et al. 2020). The effect of the shock is being transmitted through the value chain, affecting processing plants and farming facilities.

The pandemic is opening new research questions regarding the impacts of global shocks on natural resource-based industries that participate in international markets. Furthermore, the paths that different countries take to get out of the economic crisis might have profound impacts on international trade. If, for example, the world transitions to more reliance upon local production, or if emissions-related tariffs are imposed, large exporters of commodities in the region will be highly affected. The impacts that these potential trade changes could have on the environment are unknown. Furthermore, if developed countries implement recovery plans that include provisions to reduce emissions in significant ways, as has been discussed in the European Union, will Latin American countries be able to respond in the same way? In any case, Latin American countries are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and some of these effects (e.g. migration) could result in future health crises. A better understanding of the ways in which individuals might adapt to a changing climate, as well as of the barriers that they face to adopt adaptation measures, will be a valuable tool for the design of adaptation policies that prevent future health crises in the region and elsewhere.

New research should investigate the design and implementation of new economic solutions that have at their forefront long-term energy transition goals along with short-term economic recovery. Three policy solutions are suggested at the consumer, the energy industry and economy-wide levels. A policy solution to target consumers is technological advancements (both private and public funded) in energy efficiency coupled with economic incentives to rationalize energy consumption. This policy combination can achieve energy transition goals despite expected delays in renewables and without requiring large multi-year investments. It is especially important in Gulf oil states where skyrocketing cooling and desalination needs in the summer will be met using fossil fuels (renewables contribute less than 1% of power generation). A policy suggestion at the sectoral level is investing in clean energy technologies to decarbonize the energy sector itself, namely through carbon capture and storage as well as hydrogen. Beyond short-term economic and environmental benefits, these investments can keep oil exporters relevant in a future with a diminishing role of hydrocarbons and collapsing commodity prices. The final policy suggestion is microeconomic and energy policy reform that can moderate effects of export price declines on the economy without the need for additional cuts in renewables investments or further withdrawals from SWFs. Examples include microeconomic reforms of labour and human capital to increase long-term productive capacity and oligopoly regulation in non-tradables and energy sectors which can increase efficiency and welfare gains that translate economy-wide (Shehabi 2020). Consequently, resource rents could be salvaged for SWFs resources or investments necessary for future development.

Existing environmental policies inevitably generate monitoring costs; however, these costs will be borne in any case. Increasing the stringency of environmental policy involves determining new levels for existing instruments, which generates costs, but there will be no additional monitoring costs. Moreover, opting for a more stringent environmental policy means that market-based instruments can be employed, which is not feasible in the first strategy. Due to the principle of non-discrimination, it is unlikely that individualized taxes could be introduced under the negotiated bailout conditions.Footnote 48 Environmental economists agree that these instruments are more effective than command-and-control instruments since they have the potential to generate revenue and allow for a double dividend, provide incentives to invest in clean technology and require less information to be designed. Nevertheless, making aid conditional on environmental efforts makes it possible to individualize the regulatory instruments for each firm, which is not possible in the context of market-based instruments. The positive effect of the instrumental individualization induced by conditionality only materializes if the existing environmental policy is based on command-and-control instruments. With market-based instruments, individualization is not required to achieve an efficient outcome, whereas it is necessary in the case of command-and-control instruments.

The main problem is that the weather could be influencing the number of tests carried out and the segment of the population tested. For example, other respiratory diseases are often similar to COVID-19 in their symptoms (e.g. WHO 2020) and are more common during cold weather (e.g. Deschenes and Enrico 2009; Gasparrini et al. 2015), which could influence the number of tests performed on people displaying symptoms of respiratory infection. Therefore, even if the model correctly identified the impact of the weather on COVID-19 case counts, it cannot distinguish between the impact of the weather on the spread of the disease and its impact on testing. Table 1 provides a non-exhaustive list of elements that could undermine any analysis of the impact of the weather on the spread of COVID-19 using data on confirmed cases. The evidence suggests that the weather may correlate with the number of tests conducted and who gets tested. We have not been able to find any specific COVID-19-related evidence that the weather could impact test accuracy (e.g. the weather affecting the nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs used in the PCR analysis), even though this could be possible.

Other points of concern include: the fact that there may be indirect effects of weather conditions on other factors that could have an impact on the spread of COVID-19 (such as social interactions or air pollution); the heterogeneity of impacts across populations and subgroups within a population; and the fact that some people may have travelled and therefore been infected in a different place from where the cases are reported.

These findings have equally strong implications for statistical analyses focusing on other questions that rely on COVID-19 confirmed case count and/or mortality count data. Even though the exact nature of the effects may change, such studies are also at risk of capturing the effect that their parameters of interest have on tests and test results. For example, studies interested in the effect of containment policies may have to consider that these policies substantially affect testing because they change the awareness of the disease in the population, political demands for more testing or the risk of contracting other respiratory diseases. Other studies may also produce estimates that are very specific to the current circumstances in the development of the pandemic and are, therefore, not suitable to use for forecasts of what could happen in the coming months. 041b061a72


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