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How the Pandemic Offers Lessons for Taking on Climate Change

How the Pandemic Offers Lessons for Taking on Climate Change

Can the lessons learned during the pandemic be used by governments and businesses to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change? This was the question put to a panel of experts at the recent Sustainability Week, a virtual conference sponsored by The Economist. The discussion, moderated by Daniel Franklin, an executive editor at The Economist, was far ranging but focused on a few key messages.

Respect for science and scientists

Nicholas Stern, from The London School of Economics and author of the seminal Stern Review, suggested that the experience of the pandemic has helped increase the respect for science among the general public. “People now realize that there are things which are quite complicated [like climate change] where the science nevertheless has been clear and strong, and the pandemic has been another strong example of that,” he said.

Another positive outcome from the pandemic is that scientists and medical professionals have become much more media savvy. Asked to explain complex topics to the public through countless TV appearances, they have become much better communicators with some even becoming media personalities. This acceptance for the need to become more media savvy could bolster climate scientists’ arguments as they make the case for climate action to the general public.

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