The world is currently focused on solving the enormous health problem that affects the world population. As a precaution and to avoid infection, most countries have been forced to decree the confinement of their citizens.
Due to these restrictions, the levels of polluting emissions into the atmosphere have been considerably reduced. This has already been shown in China, with a 25% drop in CO2 emissions, and it is also obvious in Europe and the rest of the world.
It would be true to say that, in the short term, this is good news for the achievement of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation targets. However, being realistic, this is not a real solution to climate change.
Before COVID-19 we were already facing enormous challenges as a society, which have naturally been overshadowed by the health emergency. Issues such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss are still present and interconnected with the situation we are facing.
Why else are we currently seeing dolphins in Venice, wild boar in Barcelona and other unusual situations on the news?
The need for change: reduce GHG emissions
It is urgent to reduce GHG emissions in order to stop climate change. A climate change that can also accelerate the arrival of diseases like the one we are suffering from.
We should see this crisis as an opportunity to change habits and ensure a decent future for our species and the planet.
We need a public-private socio-economic vision. Based on powerful policies and social involvement to co-create and implement the capacity of resilience as a society for the future.
We must not forget that the coronavirus was spread through the activity of the world local markets, that is, via zoonoses. This is the transmission of pathologies characteristic of animals that can be transmitted to humans through direct or indirect exposure. By contagion or by the consumption of products derived from them (e.g. meat, milk, eggs).
For this reason, we should now try to respond to this crisis, changing course, and in this way, we can face future and challenging pandemics such as the coronavirus and the other major pandemic that has been threatening us for years called climate change.
It is time to consider how to stimulate the economy to support a long-term shift towards more sustainable practices. An economy that works for both people and the planet.
When this situation is over, problems such as climate change, air pollution or biodiversity loss will still remain major challenges that we will have to address urgently.
We should learn and draw lessons from this experience. When we are in extreme situations, together we are able to react in an exceptional way.
We need to call on political leaders and the private sector to lead this commitment and for all of us to make a change of mentality for a radical ecological shift in our lives towards the planet health.