- Documents and publications
Interactions between two existential threats: COVID-19 and climate change
In this paper, the authors summarize some shared characteristics of COVID-19 and climate change impacts and interventions and discuss key policy implications and recommendations. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are complex existential threats, unpredictable in many ways and unprecedented in modern times. There are parallels between the scale and scope of their impacts and responses. Understanding shared drivers, coupled vulnerabilities, and criteria for effective responses will help societies worldwide prepare for the simultaneous threats of climate change and future pandemics.
The researchers highlight that it is essential that the COVID-19 responses avoid the mistakes made in managing climate change, especially the slow pace of international negotiation, collaboration, and coordination. There are many opportunities for joint learning from the processes of iterative and flexible risk management of these dual global crises, ensuring progress towards a safe, just, and resilient future. Perhaps the biggest risk is that the financial costs and efforts to contain COVID-19 will distract from preparing for the existential threats of climate change.