UN Sustainable Development Goals Framework for COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 : a systemic shift for the climate?

COVID-19 is set to cause the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions due to traffic, power usage and industrial production. Scientists estimate a 7% highest potential reduction if restrictions remain until the end of 2020 (Le Quéré et al., 2020). These reductions are not enough since we need to reduce by 50% our emissions by 2050 to remain below 2°c and limit worst impacts.

According to WMO, in each of the coming five years, there is a 20% chance that the global temperature will exceed 1.5°C in at least one year. (WMO 2020)

History also shows when a crisis causes a drop in emissions, it’s unlikely to be sustainable. Great depression, WWII, Oil crisis and Great recession had little lasting effect… (Time 2020)

What is our chance to keep the temperature below 2°C ? The difference with previous crises is that, there will be a before and an after COVID-19 with the global and local awareness it created. COVID-19 is also a cautionary tale for Climate Change. It highlighted and drove the need for more sustainability on health systems, energy infrastructure, local supply chains, digital ways of working and showed our ability to swiftly adapt… This combined with the clear mindset change of investors, new generations and consumers, we might be assisting to the premises of a systemic shift driving long term change in CO2 reduction.