Sky News special Climate After Covid: A Green Recovery? examined where the pandemic leaves us with climate change – and whether in rebuilding the economy we can also reduce carbon emissions.
In the midst of a pandemic it’s easy to feel momentum has been lost for tackling the climate emergency.
Our programme on the climate after COVID-19 showed the energy and drive to find solutions to the crisis hasn’t diminished – and above all showed the sense that people want to be part of the solution.
Our virtual audience don’t want to be dragged on that journey of necessary change. They are willing participants.
It means somehow the enthusiasm which is still there after COVID needs to be harnessed.
The power of education
The findings of the UK’s first-ever Citizens Assembly on climate taught us that education and understanding has real influence on people to do more.
People want to be part of the solution and they should be.
Panel member Audrey Gallacher told us: “Once you start educating people, they can start making informed decisions. We need to start demanding things from government and businesses.”
A chance to ‘rebuild green’
We know a green recovery is central to getting the economy back on its feet. It’s too early to judge if that will happen.
Few dispute that the fallout from a pandemic provides an opportunity to build back green.
There’s plenty of talk but the programme raised question marks for me over whether governments globally will have the ambition and the money to do this.
But the reality is short-changing climate solutions will come back to haunt us.
It was really well put by panel member Saleemul Huq, who said: “Leaders who listen to scientists and take action at the right time save lives.”
It’s not just about rich countries
My third takeaway from the programme builds on global ambition.
The message was don’t dismiss countries on the frontline of climate change as always needing a helping hand.
From Saleemul Huq we learnt about the use of solar energy in rural Bangladesh, and the reminder that technological developments aren’t confined to the developed world.
Refocusing on the plastic battle
Fourthly, the programme served as a pertinent reminder not to forget the message to pass on plastic.
The message has been strong in recent years, but during the pandemic – understandably – public health has come first.
Individuals can make a difference
And finally, individuals came together to form a global panel but the programme reminded us that even without engagement of powerful countries like the United States individuals can make a difference.