In a recent op-ed, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of The Club of Rome and co-founder of The Planetary Emergency Partnership, as well as Johan Rockström, a professor and director at The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-founder of The Planetary Emergency Partnership, argue in a recent oped that climate change, biodiversity loss and deforestation drive pandemics like COVID-19. The Club of Rome is comprised of former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, and high-level politicians.
The article is called and appears in a piece called: “Emergence from emergency: The case for a holistic economic recovery plan,” and it goes a little something like this.
“We call on EU heads of state to ensure that recovery plans do not undermine climate neutrality pathways and European Green deal objectives due to clear feedback loops that will impact future public health,” they penned.
This pandemic demonstrates overnight transformational change is possible, according to the authors. “A different world, a different economy is suddenly dawning.” What must be done?
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to move away from unmitigated growth at all costs and the old fossil fuel economy, and deliver a lasting balance between people, prosperity and our planetary boundaries.” They call for a Marshall Plan-esque Green Deal.
“In the midst of a global health emergency and imminent economic recession, the importance of the European Green Deal has become even greater,” they write. “It must be the framework for responding to the current crisis and the broader planetary emergency, of which it is a part.”
They add: “The European Green Deal should do the same with a greater link between the converging tipping points of public health, climate change and biodiversity and ensure we re-direct perverse subsidies and private and public capital towards solutions that promote a just transition for resilient societies and economies.”
The duo call for digital optimization to improve long-term quality of life, even after the pandemic has run its course. Alternative farming and fuel methods must be nurtured.
“For example, there is no good reason not to be phasing out fossil fuels and deploying renewable energy technologies, most of which are now globally available and already cheaper than fossil fuels in many cases,” the oped reads.
Fossil-fuel subsidies can and should be eliminated, they say, noting the G7 and many European countries have already pledged to do so by 2025. “These subsidies should be redirected to proper green and social infrastructure including well-needed health system upgrades,” they write.
They conclude: “We therefore call upon European leaders to embrace this moment of reflection and upheaval to adopt economic recovery plans that create more resilient communities, greater health and wellbeing, and shared prosperity on a healthy planet so that we can truly emerge from this emergency stronger and more resilient.”