Why we act against the coronavirus and not against climate change

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — On the one hand, the coronavirus pandemic is mobilizing. Governments around the world are on the front lines implementing emergency measures more or less quickly.

Everyone at home, we wash our hands, we cancel our dinners and aperitifs with friends. Some people deduce that you have to rush to the pasta or the toilet paper .

On the other hand, scientists have been screaming for years that the current climate crisis will have dramatic consequences, both economic, social and health, we are reluctant to change our habits and take measures to meet the challenges . How to explain such a difference in treatment?

An easily perceived crisis

For the New York Times, the health crisis we are experiencing is proof that governments around the world are capable of acting quickly, in a coordinated manner and with the support of their people. This joint action would be facilitated by the fact that the pandemic is easy to apprehend and visualize.

“We don’t have to understand the details of the virus’s DNA, we have the flu experience,” Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist in Washington, told HuffPost. “It doesn’t require a scientific mind to understand.” A situation that is all the easier to conceive of since the virus has the role of the villain causing this crisis, while we are all accomplices of climate change, adds the American media.

Conversely, the nature of climate change seems too complex. Climate science “is difficult to deal with and it is difficult for us to be afraid of it,” Elke Weber, behavior specialist at Princeton University , told the New York Times .

Here and now

Furthermore, the fact that we see the immediate consequences of Covid-19 pushes us to act quickly and together. “We are made to take care of the here and now,” adds Dr. Weber to the New York newspaper. “We are bad at decisions that require planning for the future.”

However, the climate crisis requires action today for future benefits, which we may not even know, unlike the virus, on which our immediate actions can have an impact the same day.

The New York Times also targets the role of lobbies in the fossil fuel industry. They exert their influence to go against political measures aimed at limiting the emissions of gases that warm the planet – such as the Paris Agreement, from which the United States has withdrawn.

Either way, these two crises will impact the global economy and lead to the deaths of many people. If every day, the list of victims of coronavirus is updated and carefully scrutinized, that of climate change goes unnoticed when it could prove to be much longer. Air pollution alone, for example, kills nearly seven million people worldwide each year. And that too is happening right now.


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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.