The combination of the COVID-19 and climate crises dramatically multiplies the risks to vulnerable communities. From pandemics to inequality to climate change, the same vulnerabilities exist with each crisis, and dramatic systemic change is needed to address these underlying issues. Many communities hit hardest by extreme climate events, from hurricanes to droughts, also have weak health systems that are not prepared for pandemic response. For example, Pacific Islands already experienced damages from Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020, forcing countries to forego COVID-19 response measures in order to prepare for and address climate disaster.
As governments race to take the bold and urgent action needed to address COVID-19, this is an unprecedented moment to fundamentally restructure economies so they are more equitable, more resilient to future shocks, and driven by green growth that can achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The COVID-19 crisis proves that transformational change is possible, and that a smart recovery guided by science can put in place the building blocks for long-term impact.
Much like the climate crisis, it is critical that we listen to the science and continue to take unprecedented global action together.