Who is 'thanking the virus for saving the climate'?
Climate bedwetters are some sick puppies.
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) June 4, 2020
By Tatiana Schlossberg
Published June 4, 2020
Updated June 5, 2020
This article is part of a special report on Climate Solutions.
Much has been made about what the coronavirus “means” for climate change: measurable drops in carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution, behavioral changes that climate action might demand.
To Daniel C. Esty, a professor of environmental law and policy at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Law School, taking only those lessons from the coronavirus would be a missed opportunity.
Question: Like climate change, Covid-19 recognizes no borders and requires a coordinated international response. What are the lessons we can draw from Covid-19 that might apply to the longer-term effort for action on climate change?
The frame of the choice can’t be, “What’s the cost of taking action?” as if the cost of inaction was zero. The cost of inaction is high, too. Covid-19 sharpens people’s understanding of what the proper choice is: significant action at some substantial cost, or inaction, which has a tremendous cost itself.
I hope that lesson carries over to the game plan being developed in the years ahead for action on climate change: getting people ready for serious work and a significant transformation of society, and to explain that the status quo is not really an option.