The Coronavirus pandemic is upon us. Those of us who are invested in the fight to save the planet from climate change are in a most peculiar position of action/no action. Carbon pollution across the globe has plummeted as entire countries shelter-in-place, quarantining themselves in their homes and foregoing travel to work and non-essential errands. Pandemics have an unintended consequence of reducing greenhouse gases, yet this is a pandemic with deprivations, death, and suffering of millions.
There are several points to keep in mind:
- The climate models predict the rise and frequency of pandemics. Yes, pandemics emerge on a continuing basis because evolution is dynamic and human encroachment into nature is ongoing. However, climate modeling indicates that infections become more dynamic as well. Severity, reach, and consequences rise with temperature.
- Climate change does not cause pandemics. More accurately, climate change acts as fuel, giving viruses and bacteria more energy from which to draw.
- Self-isolating, working from home and online learning for students are not an answer to climate change. These are temporary behaviors that come with many negative consequences. Cooperating at a distance does not promote or secure behaviors necessary for a renewable energy future.
Another dissonance knocks around climate change advocates. Acute crises emerge again and again. Each crisis becomes another setback as climate change is pushed from the fore, back into the queue. The crisis must be addressed and only then, can climate change concerns return to pages of the news and social media. This phenomenon is not a matter of choice but a pattern of experience over the last few years.
Break the pattern. I can guarantee that the fossil fuel industries and their client denial initiatives are still working, although they are working from home too. Get to work. Get back to those emails, those phone calls, meetings, webinars and workshops. We have been granted the gift of time. Let us make the best use of this gift.