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2. Could COVID-19 give rise to a greener global future?

‘‘…….On one planet, all species, countries, and geopolitical issues are ultimately interconnected. We are witnessing how the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China can wreak havoc on the entire world. Like COVID-19, climate change, biodiversity loss, and financial collapses do not observe national or even physical borders. These problems can be managed only through collective action that starts long before they become full-blown crises.

The coronavirus pandemic is a wake-up call to stop exceeding the planet’s limits. After all, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change all make pandemics more likely. Deforestation drives wild animals closer to human populations, increasing the likelihood that zoonotic viruses like SARS-CoV-2 will make the cross-species leap. Likewise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global warming will likely accelerate the emergence of new viruses.

Governments that succeed in containing epidemics all tacitly follow the same mantra: “Follow the science and prepare for the future.” But we can do much better. Rather than simply reacting to disasters, we can use the science to design economies that will mitigate the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics. We must start investing in what matters, by laying the foundation for a green, circular economy that is anchored in nature-based solutions and geared toward the public good

The COVID-19 crisis shows us that it is possible to make transformational changes overnight. We have suddenly entered a different world with a different economy. Governments are rushing to protect their citizens medically and economically in the short term. But there is also a strong business case for using this crisis to usher in global systemic change.

For example, there is no good reason not to be phasing out fossil fuels and deploying renewable energy technologies, most of which are now globally available and already cheaper than fossil fuels in many cases. With the recent oil-price plunge, perverse fossil-fuel subsidies can and should be eliminated, as the G7 and many European countries have pledged to do by 2025…..

License and Republishing
World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with their Terms of Use.

Written by:
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President, The Club of Rome Hans Joachim Schellnhuber , Kate Raworth, Senior Visiting Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University This article is published in collaboration with Project Syndicate.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/a-green-reboot-after-the-pandemic/

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