Covid-19 has had an already devastating impact on global health, happiness, and economies. Now it is about to have a devastating impact on our planet.
In the wake of the pandemic, nations including Australia, Canada, Poland, and India are turning to fossil fuels in an attempt to recover their economies. This news is difficult to digest from a humanitarian perspective. On one hand, we must consider that many communities in these nations are financially reliant on the fossil fuel industry, and these investments are a well-meaning attempt to protect citizens from economic devastation. On the other hand, while providing much needed financial aid in the short term, in the long term these investments will push the world further from the targets needed to limit the effects of climate change.
The Climate Action Tracker predicts that if things continue as they are, by 2100 global temperatures will increase by up to 4.1°C. The potential effects of such a temperature increase will be infinitely more catastrophic than Covid-19 and leave us with a world totally unrecognisable from that which any humans have lived on before.
Large portions of our planet will be left uninhabitable, owing to either being drowned by the rising sea levels, or left too hot and barren to exist in. There may be devastating food and water shortages; extreme weather events; mass immigration; irreversible loss of biodiversity; increased rates of illness; wide-scale poverty; massive loss of infrastructure; and complete collapses of social structures. Millions, if not billions, of people may die.
The impending nature of climate change leaves humanity in a difficult position. We must ask ourselves a challenging question: should we protect ourselves, or our future? Can we do both?
What do you think?