We Must Be Honest About What the Coronavirus Outbreak Will Mean for Climate Action

Image source: United Nations

we know it and to the economy since World War II, many have been celebrating the drop in emissions from reduced industrial activity, travel and so on.

But we really must be careful about how we communicate these wins and indeed celebrate them.

For years people skeptical about climate action have argued, that ambitious emission cuts will bankrupt the world economy, will make our lives more miserable, and will take away our democratic right to do what we want. It is a view backed up by some climate activists who argue we need to get rid of capitalism in order to tackle the climate crisis.

On the other hand, the people actually working on tackling the climate crisis, including NGOs, economists, politicians, policymakers, think tanks, journalists and columnists argue that we can tackle climate change while still maintaining strong economies. They claim that many new jobs will be created through green policies and the workforce needed for clean energy projects. New infrastructure projects are needed to protect our societies from the worst impacts of climate change, and the investments in R&D to create new and better technologies, will hugely boost and diversify the economy.

If we make too much of a case for the benefit of declining emissions in the wake of Covid-19, naysayers will argue that the stringent emission cuts many have been calling for can only be made by grinding the economy to a halt and by limiting people’s movements. While any drop in emissions is welcome, we will have to think about what will happen once the Covid-19 outbreak ends, and it will end. Read more…

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