More than 1 million young people around the world have urged governments to prioritise measures to protect against the ravages of climate breakdown during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
World leaders are due to meet by video link on Monday to consider how to adapt to the extreme weather, wildfires and floods that have become more common as temperatures rise. Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary general, will lead the Climate Adaptation Summit, and leaders including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Narendra Modi are expected to attend.
Ban said: “We must remember there is no vaccine to fix our changing climate. As climate change impacts continue to intensify, we must put adaptation on an equal footing with [cutting emissions]. Building resilience to climate change impacts is not a nice-to-have, it is a must, if we are to live in a sustainable and secure world.”
He said efforts to repair the damage done to economies by Covid-19 were in danger of compounding the problem. “I am deeply concerned that in domestic stimulus plans dirty measures that increase carbon emissions outnumber green initiatives by four to one,” he said.
Patrick Verkooijen, the chief executive of the Global Centre on Adaptation, said it was time to redirect spending. “As governments begin to invest trillions of dollars to recover from the pandemic, they have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a more resilient, climate-smart future – to build adaptation in the next round of fiscal stimulus,” he said. “A coordinated green resilient infrastructure push with the right policy incentives could boost global GDP by 0.7% in the first 15 years and create millions of jobs.”
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