Climate has been on the back burner because of the global pandemic but it's crucial and timely to get it back upfront and centre. The conversation around climate action has to be around a green recovery and it has to be now.
We may not have a solution to Covid-19 until a vaccine is found and distributed, but we do have the answers to the world's greatest existential threat, the climate crisis. And we need to fight for them. The facts are clear: a fossil fuel-led Covid recovery could lead to 2 degrees of warming, taking the world to the tipping point of no return but a green stimulus package will keep global temperature within the 1.5 degree limit, according to a recent paper published in Nature Climate Change.
You might have heard that carbon emissions are down due to the forced shutdown of the world's economy over the past 6 months. That's true, but don't start popping the champagne yet. Long term impacts can only be achieved with a green stimulus package. Speaking as part of the World Economic Forum's "The Great Reset" (an initiative focused on building a better post pandemic world), The Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva says that "the best memorial for coronavirus victims is to build a greener, fairer, smarter world".
That is what all governments must grasp hold of, a post-covid recovery plan must be a reset, not a reversal. If the USA transitioned to a clean energy economy by 2035 they would create 25 million jobsand help repair climate damage.
A green recovery: let's make it happen
We need to pressure all governments now to ensure a clean, green recovery free of fossil fuels. This is where you come in, you have to use your voice and your vote to ensure that the momentum from community positivity around a green recovery isn't quashed at policy level. Right now, governments around the world are spending a lot of money, stimulating the economy following Covid. It's time to write to your elected representative (see how here) to communicate your opposition to a fossil fuel-led recovery and show your support for politicians who support a green new deal.
Another way you can show your support is to volunteer with your local representative. My local representative here in Sydney is independent MP, Zali Steggall. Zali, who is championing a Climate Bill, has a large team of volunteers, including myself, who help out with a range of jobs, from emails in the electorate office to letterbox drops. If you live in a country or state where an election is looming, why not get involved and help elect a government committed to a green recovery.
Alarmingly, many governments are moving towards a reliance on coal, gas and oil in their post-COVID recovery plans. The Australian government is planning a gas-led recovery which they say will drive down energy costs for industry and households. The Sydney Morning Herald reports comments by Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen, "Allowing any new gas development is fundamentally at odds with protecting Australians from the impacts of climate change." You can read more about these planned projects here.
Meanwhile, our children continue their fight for action "Fund our future not gas".
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School children get it, why don't politicians get it - the facts are overwhelmingly in favour of a clean, green recovery not only for the environment, but for the economy - the two are inextricably linked. Do they really care more about their ties with big industry than their children's future?
Let's get noisy and put the climate crisis firmly back on the agenda before any more of these new coal or gas projects get approval.
By Allison Licence
Allison Licence is a Sydney-based freelance writer and 1 Million Women volunteer who is passionate about the environment and finding ways to live more sustainably.