Earth Day: Coronavirus recovery must be in tandem with climate healing, UN urges
'We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and existential threat of climate disruption', UN chief says
Nations must emerge from the damages caused by coronavirus and work to solve the climate crisis in unison to ensure a better future for the planet, the UN’s secretary general has urged ahead of events planned to mark Earth Day.
Populations across the world have been forced to prioritise public health over economic and environmental wellbeing as the virus rages across the globe.
Now in a call for governments to put the environment ahead of a short-term economic fix, the United Nations' secretary-general Antonio Guterres has said ensuring a future for the planet must be a core element in rebuilding society after lockdown measures are lifted.
Mr Guterres said that while the impact of the virus on global society had been “immediate and dreadful”, there was "another, even deeper emergency - the planet's unfolding environmental crisis".
"Biodiversity is in steep decline", he added. "Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return.
The effects of the virus have scuppered previously established plans to tackle the ongoing threat of climate change - with the scheduled Cop 26 summit which was due to take place in Glasgow delayed for a year due to social distancing guidelines.
And with the possibility of a global recession looming, concerns remain that governments across the world will prioritise the economy over the environment.
Tracking the coronavirus outbreak around the world in maps and charts
When can we really expect coronavirus to end?
Listen to the latest episode of The Independent Coronavirus Podcast
In response, Mr Guterres has urged for money earmarked for supporting businesses out of the economic struggles of the virus to be tied to creating green jobs that aid the environment. He went on to call for sustainable growth, and for cash to flow into sustainable resources as opposed to the struggling oil industry.
A green recovery from the pandemic has been backed by the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) which includes the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, whose members include major medical organisations and associations.