Coronavirus: First Hit to Global Climate Action

We wrote 3 weeks ago that the COVID-19 outbreak could prove to be a serious impediment to global efforts to curb climate change and promote conservation, and this concern has been realized as yesterday the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, has been rescheduled for 2021.

Why This Matters: COP26 was to be a make or break moment when all nations were going to be asked to submit their new (and hopefully more ambitious) long-term goals emissions reductions goals as is the protocol to do every 5 years after the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. There’s also a worry that the immense economic implications of the coronavirus crisis could impede the actions countries would have taken to fight climate change, which is why in the United States we must use our response to the virus to also build our green economy.

Don’t Lose Hope: Bill Gates told TED’s Chris Anderson that coronavirus can be a catalyst for solving climate change stating that,“That idea of innovation and science and the world working together — that is totally common between these two problems, and so I don’t think this has to be a huge set back for climate.

Touch of Magic: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has launched an online initiative, www.harrypotterathome.com, which features quizzes, games and other activities to bring a little magic to housebound families.

FYI: Pollen is really bad across large swaths of the United States, are your symptoms seasonal allergies or coronavirus?

The White House Response: Aside from the official White House coronavirus task force that’s being led by VP Mike Pence, President Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner has also been leading his own task force that seeks to bring together leaders from the private sector to expand test access, ramp up industry production of needed medical supplies, and figure out how to get those supplies to key locations.

But as Politico reported, “confusion and potential conflict of interests brewing. Projects are so decentralized that one team often has little idea what others are doing, and there is limited vetting of private companies’ and executives’ financial interests.” Kushner’s task force has also “duplicated existing federal teams and operations, and its focus on rapid, short-term decisions has created concern among some health-agency officials.”

Americans are within their rights to be concerned by the competency of the Trump White House and its response to COVID-19. As the Boston Globe Editorial Board printed, the President “has blood on his hands.”

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