How do the impacts of Covid-19 and climate change differ?
Today, the Covid-19 pandemic is all anyone can talk about. Societies around the world are coming to a standstill, and concern for most matters other than the coronavirus have been pushed aside. But as we confront the current crisis, can we learn anything that could help us as a country deal with another crisis that is slowly but inexorably coming down the pike—climate change?
We asked three Earth Institute experts for their insights. Michael Gerrard is a law professor and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Jeffrey Shaman studies climate and health at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the Mailman School of Public Health. Scott Barrett is vice dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and Lenfest-Earth Institute professor of natural resources economics.
How do the impacts of Covid-19 and climate change differ? Both the coronavirus and climate change have the potential to be catastrophic for humanity — but they operate on different timescales. Covid-19 has upended almost every aspect of societies around the world in just a few weeks. “Climate change is much slower acting, but ultimately could be at least as disruptive,” said Michael Gerrard.
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