Will coronavirus slow action on climate?
BY KELLY SIMS GALLAGHER – (Former Obama administration senior policy adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & senior China adviser in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department.)
Excerpts: Normally, such announcements would be catalyzing for national policy but there is little evidence that the state and firm-level announcements are causing countries to increase their ambition. Aside from the Marshall Islands, only Suriname has officially updated its commitment under the Paris Agreement so far. The main culprit? Coronavirus.
With American leadership not only absent but working against global climate action, much responsibility rests with China. Prior to the Paris Agreement, the U.S. and China were the first to stand up together to announce their targets. The joint leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama inspired dozens of other presidents and prime ministers to announce their targets ahead of Paris.
Unless coronavirus is quickly contained, another casualty will be much-needed climate action in 2020.