By Asitha Jayawardena
The coronavirus crisis quietly struck the wet market in Wuhan in December 2019. Today, six months later, the global pandemic has got 6.4 million coronavirus cases with 380,000 deaths in almost all the countries in the world.
Climate change is different. Today, according to Paris Agreement in 2015, the main challenge – among other things – is to restrict the global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels to 1.5oC in 2030. Unlike coronavirus, the mortalities are never counted in climate change but all countries in the world are affected.
Let’s see six points on the coronavirus and climate change:
Both starts with C with spheres
It starts with C – Coronavirus and Climate change.
Both are spheres. You can see coronavirus with a microscope. Planet earth is the other, which is a bigger ball with a mean radius 6371 km.
Both are natural phenomena
Coronavirus is a virus that occurs in bats. With pangolins as an intermediary, the virus infects humans, thus creating the pandemic.
Similarly, climate change can be viewed as a range of natural phenomena such as air temperature, warming oceans, sea level, sea ice, ice sheets, vegetation and extreme weather events. Human elements such as mass migration come as a result of the variation of the climate.
Both differs in time
In coronavirus, it’s weeks and months. In climate change, it’s years and decades.
A person with coronavirus might sadly die in two weeks. In climate change, people are affected slowly and indirectly but it is death.
Both affects us all
Both coronavirus and climate change have undesirable impacts on all people on earth.
Countries that brought in strict measures without delay maintained low mortality rates. Examples include South Korea, Greece, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The nations that delayed the lockdown had high rates such as US, UK, Italy and Brazil.
In climate change, on the other hand, all are equal but the developing nations have more to bear in flooding, droughts and wildfires.
Vaccines with one, not with the other
For coronavirus, various institutes and companies have started searching for vaccines and drugs. When the vaccine is found, the pandemic is over by immunizing people en masse (if that is possible). But some say it may not be possible to cure the disease by a vaccine.
On the other hand, nothing is available against climate change.
Self-isolate with one, not with the other
You can self-isolate from coronavirus.
As Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England, said: ‘We can’t self-isolate from climate change’.
Mark Carney: ‘We can’t self-isolate from climate change’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52582243
Striking similarities, but important differences. Great post, Asitha.
I found the point about “counting deaths” most relevant. If we started doing that for climate change, governments would start acting immediately.
Thank you, Saurab. Trouble in counting deaths is, how to prove that a death is caused by climate change? It’s tricky but it will happen sooner after coronavirus deaths.
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True, it’s very tricky and always circumstantial. It’s hard to show a cause-effect relationship…