Now that severe restrictions concerning mobility and social distance have been put in place and led to a shut down of a large part of the economy, climate activists claim that already we are seeing huge environmental benefits, among them: cleaner air.
One person here in Germany even tweeted that he had not seen such clean air since his childhood, and attributed it to scale-down of human activity.
But German wetteronline.de here reports the clean air central Europe has seen recently since the COVID 19 crisis began is not the result of the shutdown, but is mostly due to the current weather pattern over Europe.
The lower volume of traffic and the largely idle economy certainly has an impact on the concentration of dust and dirt in the air. However, the current weather situation is much more important. On the verge of a powerful high over the Baltic, dry and cold air is being carried from Siberia to Central Europe. It is very clear and pure. In addition, there is a gusty easterly wind, which leaves no chance for a so-called inversion. Under such an inversion the concentration of dust, soot and dirt would increase rapidly.”
Wood burning the biggest threat
Moreover, a heated debate has been unleashed by Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann, who says the biggest threat to clean air in Germany is the now increasing use of wood burning for home heating.
Das ist immer die grösste Lüge. Nichts verbrennt dreckiger als Holz mit so vielen Zusatzsubstanzen.
Und auch auf der Tabelle die Folgen zu sehen im Vergleich.
— Jörg | kachelmannwetter.com🇨🇭 (@Kachelmann) April 5, 2020
40 times dirtier than natural gas
According to the veteran meteorologist, “nothing burns dirtier than wood and its additives” and “every wood stove is an environmental catastrophe”. The following chart shows the fine particle emissions from various heating fuels:
Wood pellets are 40 times worse than natural gas.
With governments moving to restrict fossil heating fuels and encouraging “renewable” wood, more and more Germans are opting for wood heat. Thus climate activists have to expect the air to become dirtier – much dirtier – and not cleaner should restrictions be enacted against the fossil fuel economy.