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Climate Change and COVID-19

Climate Change and COVID-19

In recent years, conversations about climate change have become increasingly urgent as governments and organizations around the world have gained a deeper understanding of the significant and irreversible negative impact that human activity is having on the planet

At the time the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic, climate change was at the forefront of political conversations and agendas. It was considered to be a crucial time to take decisive action to protect the future of the planet. However, the world’s spotlight moved away from climate change as the impact of the pandemic wore on.

Now, scientists are highlighting the similarities between the two crises, even suggesting that climate change may have been a causal factor in the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we highlight the relationship between the pandemic and climate change, assess the role of climate change in the pandemic, and review the proposal that responses to the pandemic and climate change should be aligned.

Similarities between climate change and COVID-19 crises
Although the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change do not immediately appear similar, upon closer inspection a number of significant shared factors are revealed. Both crises are attributed to substantial unnecessary loss of life.

COVID-19 is known to impact particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, causing severe respiratory disease, and climate change affects air quality, drinking water, food supply and shelter - all factors that are associated with health. Climate change is expected to cause around 250,000 additional deaths annually between 2030 and 2050. COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of 2.3 million people worldwide since the start of the pandemic.

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