Coronavirus and the climate crisis: Common causes and shared solutions

By Josh Karliner, International Director for Program and Strategy of Health Care Without Harm


We are living in a moment when two major global threats, a worldwide pandemic and the climate crisis, have suddenly converged.

In a matter of months COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, compelling countries to lock down; forcing the cancellation of events, travel, and gatherings of every stripe; shifting social norms; and pushing the world economy to the brink of recession. The current pandemic some scientists warn, and many of us fear, is a glimpse of a dystopian future with more of the same.

Photo by Clay Banks and NASA | Unsplash

Climate change is a different beast. It is relatively slow moving, yet the crisis is now upon us as well, with communities the world over experiencing its myriad impacts: floods, drought, fire, disease. Without rapid major systems changes that alter our emissions trajectory over the next decade, the climate crisis, as the UN Secretary General has warned, poses an existential threat to human civilization as we know it.


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