Global warming must be fought with “the same determination” as the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.
The new coronavirus (Covid-19) “may result in a temporary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but it is not a substitute for sustained climate action,” the World Meteorological Organisation said in a press release.
“Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries,” according to WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “We need to flatten both the pandemic and climate change curves,” he said.
Economic stimulus packages after the pandemic should help the economy “grow back greener,” Taalas said, pointing out that “previous economic crises have often been followed by ‘recovery’ associated with much higher emission growth than before the crisis.”
“We need to act together in the interests of the health and welfare of humanity not just for the coming weeks and months, but for many generations ahead,” he said.
WMO – a specialized agency of the UN responsible for the state and behaviour of the Earth’s the weather and climate, among other things – released the press release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a global event to support environmental protection.
While 2019 was a record-breaking year for Europe in terms of climate change, “a new global mean temperature record is likely to occur in the next five-year period.”