On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, many explored the links between COVID-19 and climate change. When I posted about it, some asked “who cares?”. So, it got me thinking about how to better make the case. If you have some good reads, please send them my way.
There has been a lot of talk about air pollution and the pandemic. Two recent studies in the US and Europe show correlations between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality. Xiao Wu et al from the Harvard School of Health used data from 3000 US counties and showed that a small increase in long-term fine particle matter exposure leads to a 15% increase in COVID-19 death rate. Yaron Ogen from the Halle University Institute of Geosciences and Geography used data from 66 regions in France, Germany, Italy and Spain and showed that 83% of all COVID-19 fatalities where located in the most polluted areas. Ok…but we know that correlation does not mean causality.
In “Addressing climate change in a post-pandemic world” Dickon Pinner and his two McKinsey colleagues do a good job at listing COVID-19 and climate change links, and reviewing what could support or hamper climate action in the recovery context. Widespread teleworking, supply chain shortening, improved risk pricing, increased resilience strengthening, and low-interest-rate boosted infrastructure investments could help the climate transition. Low oil price, limited investors’ capital, and national rivalries could stand in the way. They also make recommendations to governments, businesses and people. What we can all do: raise awareness about the huge economic costs a climate crisis could bring, and maintain those behaviors adopted during confinement that help the planet.
My graph this week is from an Ipsos poll conducted between April 16-19 with 28,000 adults in 14 countries. 71% agree that climate change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19 in the long term and 65% support government actions that prioritize climate change in the economic recovery. That surprised me. In a good way.
My quote this week is from Hannah Malcom the granddaughter of Nobel Prized climate scientist John Houghton who died from COVID-19: “When I was younger, my consistent memory of him was warnings over the devastation waiting us if we didn’t act on climate change. And I remember thinking how glad I was that scientists like him were in charge. But of course, it isn’t the scientists in charge.”