What's the bigger crisis: Climate or Covid?
The old saying, “may you live in interesting times” could not have been more appropriate this week when a global network of NGOs called on the organizers of the COP26 climate conference to delay the crucial event until representatives from poorer nations could be vaccinated and safely attend.
The argument is that the inequitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines could prevent some of the most climate-vulnerable countries from attending. Despite official offers to provide vaccines to the delegates, there are still concerns that there is not enough time for the vaccines to provide adequate protection, and that these poorer nations cannot afford the cost of quarantine for their delegates.
While I use this newsletter to report more than comment, on this I must take a stand. COVID-19 has already taken a massive toll and continues to wreak havoc and death around the world. But we cannot allow it to delay these vital negotiations. The climate crisis is an existential threat to all humankind, and we must act now.
Timing is everything in political agreements. With climate-conscious leaders representing the majority of the large carbon emitters, the IPCC report laying out an unequivocal call for action, and regulators around the world poised to act, there has never been a more favorable moment to make meaningful progress. The breakthrough in 2015 that resulted in the Paris accord would not have happened in 2016 - that was the year Donald Trump was elected President and swiftly withdrew the US from the treaty.
Read the full column here.
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