As our national leaders have gradually woken up to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and sluggishly begun to respond, I wonder if this health crisis is like a movie trailer for the climate change crisis that is looming.
We are told it is nothing to be concerned about – until we learn otherwise. We are warned that if we take action to avert a catastrophe, there will be dire economic consequences – and then we learn that catastrophes bring economic collapse. Delayed actions allow the scope of the problem to expand while the full force of the consequences grows, undetected. When the magnitude of the crisis is finally revealed, we may find that it is beyond our control. Casualties pile up and the most vulnerable bear the most harm.
In the case of climate change, this process all unfolds much more slowly. We have seen this coming and been dithering for years. We are dithering still – and worse. Our president has just rolled back the tighter vehicle emission standards put in place by the last president, and has pulled us out of the world climate accords. In the end we may find that we are all on a cruise ship and there is no port where we will be allowed to disembark.