climate change

Warnings not to let the Coronavirus delay climate action


Laurence Tubiana with US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius during COP21 in 2015. Photo credit: US Department of State via Wikimedia

By Anders Lorenzen

One of the architects of the Paris Agreement has become the latest high-profile person to warn that we must not let the Coronavirus delay climate action.

The economist and diplomat who was France’s climate ambassador during COP21 and one of the architects of brokering the deal Laurence Tubiana has warned governments that they must not let the Covid-19 outbreak derail action on climate change. She said the vulnerabilities laid bare by the outbreak could serve to spur a more concerted response and should serve as a wake-up call: “In a way, it’s a lesson: viruses don’t respect borders, climate change doesn’t respect borders. If we do not manage the climate crisis it will be the same.” Tubiana’scomments came amid the growing concerns that the economic disruption of Covid-19 could tempt governments away from the massive efforts required to cut CO2 emissions needed to stabilise Earth’s climate system.

Key officials at the UN say that it is still the plan to host the crucial climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, the UK in November this year despite some of the preliminary meetings being postponed or moving online It is believed this will be the most crucial UN climate summit since COP21 in Paris in 2015. 

The UN says it is still premature to talk about a postponement. At this year’s Glasgow summit the nearly 200 countries who pledged to curb emissions in the Paris Agreement are expected to put forward new targets which the science demands should be radically increased in order to avoid temperature increases which scientists say could trigger runaway climate change.

Tubiana who now works for the European Climate Foundation said: “The climate crisis hasn’t gone away. The vulnerability of the international system is in a very, very violent way.”

There are also concerns that a key EU-China summit due to take place in Germany in September is at risk. This summit is seen as an important opportunity to coordinate action on emissions prior to COP26. The preparatory meeting was due to take place in Beijing, China later this month but has been postponed.

Earlier this month the UN head Antonio Guterres warned that amidst dealing with Convid-19 we must not forget about tackling climate change.


5 replies »

  1. Totally relevant. After all, coronavirus is itself in part a consequence of the climate crisis, and more pandemics are sure to come in future unless we tackle the overarching issue.


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