Can climate capitalism cure what ails us? Fighting climate change in the age of COVID
Climate capitalism is the vaccine we need to tackle climate change – and COVID is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fund it
Every disaster movie starts with someone ignoring the experts. Scientists point to an impending threat with increasing alarm, but to the public the threat feels abstract, distant. Until it reaches a tipping point and suddenly everything changes. Almost overnight, COVID-19 exploded from WHO discussion rooms to shatter the global economy and upend our social lives. It’s an example of “systemic” risk, where nature shifts otherwise unseen boundary conditions under which we operate. Assumptions underpinning everyday security are betrayed. COVID breached an invisible line between us and pathogens. Nature’s back in the driver’s seat. We’re humbled, no longer in control.
The good news is that humility brought massive changes in behaviour to limit the risk and unlocked enormous public and private resources to resolve it. Social distancing buys time. A vaccine puts the boundary back in place. Our collective response is a moral one: we took on staggering costs in the blink of an eye to protect ourselves. A united public sector is arbiter of that moral dimension. It defines the framework by which we act, and only it can provide the foundation upon which the economy recovers.
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