China’s “Zero-Covid” policy and its fallout sparked widespread demonstrations across the country earlier this week, with thousands protesting strict COVID restrictions in the streets of many cities.
Amongst other restrictions, the policy has enforced widespread lockdowns and testing across the country to tackle outbreaks. And though such measures have arguably helped reduce COVID-related deaths in China, there have been reports of the lockdowns themselves leading to other tragedies associated with the obstruction of things like emergency services and healthcare.
The protests erupted in major cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Guangzhou, with countless videos of demonstrations and clashes spreading online despite censorship systems.
Yesterday, however, Chinese authorities signaled they would ease “Zero-Covid” restrictions in some parts of cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Against this backdrop, some are saying China’s “Zero Covid” policy is also stifling climate action.
chinese foreign ministry spokesperson zhao lijian censoring himself before the ccp can
w/ incredibly awkward silence when asked about xi’s zero covid policy + protests in china pic.twitter.com/VrGOe3MfDi
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) November 29, 2022
COVID restrictions and climate action
As reported in a recent Bloomberg article, some environmentalists have expressed concerns that the “Zero-Covid” policy may be hindering climate projects.
With strict lockdowns and quarantine restrictions making travel difficult and expensive, many of China’s environmentalists and climate advocates have been stuck at home, put off from traveling or are simply unable to afford it.
As a result, some scientists are being prevented from making in-person international trips to visit, discuss and collaborate with experts overseas, delaying the important projects they’re working on.
In some cases, this has affected the ability of Chinese climate advocates to attend vital conferences such as COP27. In others, it has led to the delay or cancelation of important climate-related projects and experiments.
What’s more, with many deterred from making the trip into China, international conferences hosted in China are also being impacted.
There are also concerns that the “Zero Covid” policy’s impact on China’s economy may lead to climate efforts being deprioritised.
Some have expressed how the impact of lockdowns on manufacturing of solar panels and other clean technologies could affect the country’s decarbonisation in the long run.
Furthermore, more concerns centre around the potential for China’s COVID lockdowns to play a part in affecting oil prices; fluctuations which may pose challenges to the green transition.
This paints a picture of some of the ways in which China’s “Zero Covid” policies may be hindering climate research and action.
Correction: This article (including the title, subtitle, subheadings and content) has been entirely reworked, refocused and shortened substantially to avoid any possible misunderstanding or unfair assumptions.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Person walking in hazmat suit. Featured Photo Credit: Xiangkun ZHU/Unsplash