The speed at which coronavirus has been spreading rendered its impacts impossible to ignore and put off for later handling. Governments across world took unprecedented action to fight a pandemic that appeared just a few months ago, leading to mass behavioral change and, in many cases, a slowdown of the virus spread.
In contrast, measures against climate change have been shockingly mild and confined to the existing socioeconomic status quo. Despite the disastrous long-term socioeconomic impacts, not to mention the existential threat to humanity, the use of fossil fuels continues to increase. By many scientific accounts, climate change has already reached the tipping point
of triggering damaging effects that are too late to avoid, and we are starting to see the effects.
The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing. According to the 15th Global Risks Report
published by the World Economic Forum, "the near-term impacts of climate change add up to a planetary emergency that will include loss of life, social and geopolitical tensions and negative economic impacts." The report further says that failure of climate change mitigation and adaption is the No. 1 risk by impact, and the No. 2 risk by likelihood, over the next 10 years. In order to stand a chance against these threats, we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
What lessons can we extract from COVID-19 in order to become more resilient in the face of climate change?