COVID-19: Standstill in climate rescue?

14. April 2020

The UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa warns that international efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will intensify the climate crisis. The reason is that the international focus for weeks has been on the containment of COVID-19. It is still a while before the pandemic is overcome. In the meantime, the climate crisis is taking a back seat. Long-term global warming is “the greatest threat to humanity”.

The Secretary General of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change appeals to continue efforts to achieve the climate targets as agreed: „Corona shows how much a global crisis can affect us as a global community. But we also get an idea of ​​what climate change could destroy as a global crisis in the coming decades. That should shake us up.“

Continue climate protection work

COVID-19 is turning the world upside down: the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, planned for November, has already been postponed to 2021. This shift is inevitable, no question. Nevertheless, the climate threat posed by COVID-19 cannot simply be pushed aside. The climate crisis, like the corona crisis, stands for itself and these two must not be brought into conflict with one another.

Will Corona also represent the turning point in climate policy?

The year 2020 should have been a very decisive one in the history of climate protection: Greta Thunberg and the climate crisis are in the headlines almost every day, the new regulations of the world climate treaty apply and the willingness of the states to get active in the climate crisis is visible.

195 countries have committed to massive CO2 emissions reductions in their climate plans. Not only that, the goals already set should be increased. Then COVID-19 came and suddenly everything is different. This is precisely why the states are reminded that the clock is still ticking. The climate plans are currently not sufficient to stop global warming. The more time that things go by, the more the consequences will hit us.

Sustainability as an economic turbo after the crisis

To ensure that 2020 is not a lost year in climate policy, the spirit of #FridaysforFuture should flare up again after the humanitarian, medical and, above all, economic stabilization. Another argument for a massive comeback of climate protection in the next few weeks is the fact that climate protection and investments in green technologies can help many countries in the longer term to boost the economy again.

We should see the crisis as an opportunity to finally rethink and move towards sustainability.

Excursus: About the UN climate conference

For 25 years, diplomats with a climate focus have been meeting in a different country each year and negotiating measures to stop global climate change. If agreements are made, they bear the name of the city in which the conference took place. We are all aware of the Kyoto Agreement (1997) and Paris Agreement (2015). These two agreements are milestones in international climate policy.