Covid-19 and Climate Change: How the Health Catastrophe Interacts with Climate Action
26 June 2020 2 min.
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This article is published in Futuribles journal no.437, juil.-août 2020
In a book published last autumn, Christian de Perthuis alerted us to the time we have left to attempt to curb current climate change and warned of its serious consequences for our planet and its inhabitants. With the ‘climate clock’ ticking, he stressed how narrow a path was left for us to implement effective measures to counter climate change without thereby deepening social inequalities. Since that book came out, the climate clock has suffered an unexpected jolt: Covid-19, followed by a large-scale lockdown of populations in their countries, with major impacts on mobility, production, social life and hence on greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. In this article de Perthuis offers an analysis of the impact of this health catastrophe on the timetable for the battle against climate change: a little time gained, a no doubt lesser bounce-back effect compared to previous crises, and an emissions peak probably reached in 2019. He warns particularly about the plans to relaunch economic activity that will follow, since not everyone will have the same concern with ecological transition. This is why it is important, for the European Union and national public authorities, to avoid amnesia and make the current crisis a catalyst for substantial change in terms of climate action, for which de Perthuis proposes various sources of funding. The ticking of the clock has slowed a little, but the climate emergency remains.