(source: Stockholm Environment Institute)
As the covid-19 outbreak rages across the world, it’s easy to forget about the climate crisis. The priorities right now are, and should be, slowing the pandemic, saving lives, and then restarting economies left in shambles. But by that point few countries are likely to be able or especially eager to sacrifice near-term growth to help slow climate change.
In the short term, global emissions are falling, as they did during steep economic declines in the past. But carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, meaning the total concentration will continue to rise even if we’re producing less of it. And emissions will bounce back as soon as economies do.
So the threat of rapidly accelerating climate change will remain. And we’ll be living in a much poorer world, with fewer job opportunities, less money to invest in cleaner systems, and deeper fears about our health, our financial futures, and other lurking dangers.
When the pandemic wanes, a poorer, more divided world will still face the rapidly rising threat of climate change.
These are ripe conditions to further inflame nationalist instincts, making our global challenges even harder to solve. Indeed, the breakdowns in international (and even intra-national) cooperation as countries race to understand and tackle the covid-19 outbreak offer a stark warning for our climate future.
Another major casualty of the pandemic has been our faith in a global supply chain. As countries shut down production and distribution, first in China and then around the world, essential goods are in short supply. It has become evident how vulnerable we are to trade relationships and concentrated manufacturing centers.
That too presents a challenge for climate change. China produces about a third of the world’s wind turbines, two-thirds of its solar panels, and roughly 70% of its lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. What happens if we enter a cold war on clean tech?
In the end, whether people feel the need to tighten international ties or erect higher walls may depend on how ugly things get in the coming weeks and months, and the political narratives that take hold as we try to make sense of how it all happened.
Author James Temple goes deeper addressing America First, the collapse of trust and Climate Fascism in the full article.
Go deeper here LINK