We often hear it said, in certain circles, that the current #COVIDー19
crisis would be "good for the climate and the environment," or that we ought "to apply the same measures against climate change." Here is why I think this is wrong. 1/..
Not only is this utterly insensitive to the ordeal many families are living through right now, not to mention the staff on the front line, but it's also completely wrong and stupid. On the contrary, I think that in the long run this crisis will be a disaster for the #climate
Of course there are short-term effects on the environment: a substantial drop in air pollution, a fall in greenhouse gas emissions, etc. But in the long term, these temporary effects will probably be insignificant, and here's why: 3/..
1. Emissions always tend to bounce back after a crisis. We've already seen this in China, and we saw it after the 2008-2009 crisis. The climate needs a steady and regular drop in greenhouse gas emissions, not a 'blank' year. 4/.. https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-03-19/coronavirus-shutdowns-are-lowering-greenhouse-emissions-history-shows-theyll-come-roaring-back
2. Governments are already announcing plans to revive their fossil industries. Canada announces a massive plan to support the oil and gas sector. Likewise for the airline sector, and even for cruise ships. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-ottawa-prepares-multibillion-dollar-bailout-of-oil-and-gas-sector/
While the price of a barrel of oil is at the lowest and the recovery plan could be an opportunity to plan a low-carbon economy, we risk doing exactly the opposite and offering a lifeline to the carbon economy. https://twitter.com/ericvidalenc/status/1242348937765404672?s=20
3. Above all, many governments are trying to seize this opportunity to challenge climate change measures in the name of economic recovery. The Czech Republic and Poland are already calling for the abandonment of the European Green New Deal. https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/czech-pm-urges-eu-to-ditch-green-deal-amid-virus/
4. Above all, the current lockdown measures are likely to encourage the idea that the fight against climate change requires a complete shutdown of the economy. Later, I seriously doubt that we'll look back on the lockdown period as a blessed time... 8/..
We won't say "of course it was a bit painful, but it was great for the climate." There is a real risk of the massive rejection of climate change measures if it is said, as some activists are saying right now, that we should "do the same for the climate." 9/..
So watch out for this widespread rhetoric: "climate change requires the same measures as we're applying to COVID-19," or "the epidemic is a rehearsal for climate change." It's dangerous: this crisis and climate change do have a lot of common, but they are fundamentally different.
a. For now, the pandemic mainly affects the industrialized countries (China, Europe, the United States). It's the other way around with climate change! We cannot expect immediate benefits for ourselves.
b. Above all, climate change is not a "crisis": it is an irreversible transformation. There will be no going back to normal, no vaccine. There is a need for structural measures, not short-term ones.
So watch out for quasi-religious formulas of the type: "Nature is reclaiming its rights," or "the Earth is taking its revenge." After all, epidemics existed before climate change, and above all that's not how we're going to think rationally what comes after the crisis. END
PS: Many many thanks to @laurakurgan
and her husband for the translation! And who knows? Maybe this will change the outcome of the US presidential election. *That* would be good news for climate change.
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