Many of the ongoing lessons from the pandemic and the long-term changes it should inspire will be equally beneficial in responding to the challenges of the climate crisis. So, what are some key points we can take from the immediate crisis to better equip ourselves for the even harder future that lies ahead? “Necessity” may be a relative concept, but given that every national government in the UK has declared a “climate emergency” there should be consensus that this calls for radical action. In practice, this will mean introducing frequent flier taxes, carbon taxes, free public transport, and widespread pedestrian zones, as well making major investments in clean energy and decarbonised industry. Alongside creating green jobs, governments could also introduce a basic income to support people through the inevitable decline of many current forms of employment. Getting buy-in for change from across society is essential. The pandemic has proven that most people are willing to go to great lengths to protect themselves and others from harm when presented with the evidence of the difference their sacrifices will make. It has also demonstrated that there are major challenges to maintaining public support for disruptive measures at a time when belief in conspiracy theories is at an all-time high and trust in politicians and journalists is at its lowest. If you’ve been taken aback by just how many people see a requirement to wear masks as part of a nefarious worldwide plot, you may also be surprised to know that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods introduced in parts of London have been so controversial that 2500 people marched against them in September.
The National 3rd Jan 2021 read more »