Will Coronavirus Slow Action on Climate?
Each day that new coronavirus cases are announced is another day that action on climate becomes less likely. The situation is particularly acute in China where the economy is faltering, leaders are understandably distracted, and climate action is grinding to a halt.
This is an important year for climate change because countries are supposed to update their pledges under the Paris Agreement, adopted five years ago, in time for the next major round of international negotiations in the United Kingdom this November. In their initial pledges, known as “nationally-determined contributions,” many countries put forth conservative targets for reducing greenhouse gases because they were (a) not sure what other countries would pledge, (b) not sure how much they could achieve through policy, and (c) generally were aiming towards limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the number then agreed upon as most politically viable and thought to be an acceptable goal.