The deep social and economic impacts of COVID-19 will be felt long after we emerge from the health crisis. The question is how we will emerge: having "only" vanquished a virus pandemic or having used the financial restart measures to also significantly advance on the synchronous climate change emergency, having created a new social and environmental contract that meets the Sustainable Development Goals. Will we dangerously return to policies, technologies, business processes, and behaviors of the past, or will we derive valuable lessons for clean long-term growth and social inclusion, making us better equipped to take the other crises in our stride?
Some have pointed to the sudden drop in greenhouse gases as the link between COVID-19 and climate change. This is a false nexus. The temporary emission reduction is caused by economic paralysis and comes at a very high cost in human lives and livelihoods. The response to climate change has to be radically different.