Lobby Global Leaders to Restart with Green Economy

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The Climate is Still in Crisis:  Restart a Green New Economy

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen incredible visions of our planet seemingly restoring itself: the Himalayas visible for the first time in 30 years, crystal clear waters in the canals in Venice, and sweeter smelling air in our own neighborhoods around the world. The coronavirus lockdown hasn’t just slowed the march of COVID-19, it has reduced lethal air pollution and the associated mortality risks (7 million deaths annually). But when the lockdown lifts, those risks of the status quo might not just return to normal—they might worsen—as governments have weakened environmental regulations and pour billions of dollars into polluting industries.

In the long run the Covid-19 crisis will be a disaster for the climate. The short-term positive effects like the substantial drop in air pollution and the fall in greenhouse gas emissions are temporary effects will be insignificant to the overall picture.

Our global economic restart portends a worsening climate scenario:

• Emissions tend to bounce back after an economic collapse, as they already have in China, and as they did in 2008-09. Some call this the “rebound effect” or “revenge pollution.” The obvious point to make here is that China’s ‘airpocalypse’—the horrendous smog of the winter 2012-13—was a direct outcome of the smokestack stimulus started in 2008.

• Governments are reviving their fossil-fuel industries and supporting polluters instead of advancing low-carbon alternatives.

• Some governments, including the United States, are suspending enforcement of environmental regulations, unleashing polluters, and others are using the pandemic as an excuse to renege on climate pledges.

The climate crisis is an irreversible transformation. There will be no going back to normal, no vaccine. It is our collective responsibility to look after our planet, the only place we call home.  We cannot take our attention away from the climate crisis.   We demand a green restart to prevent future pandemics and create a sustainable future for life on Earth.