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COVID was a dress rehearsal for global climate change. And it didn't go well

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22.08.2021
By Nicholas Goldberg

COVID-19 is a nightmare that has left more than 600,000 people dead in the United States alone. But from the very start it was also a clear dress rehearsal for the looming global catastrophe of climate change, which is barreling toward us and likely to wreak more damage than the pandemic.

Early on, it seemed like COVID-19 might sober us up, and teach us some useful lessons for that other great and imminent threat. Perhaps the coronavirus would force us to acknowledge that there really are invisible dangers in the world, and that there really are experts who know more than we do. Perhaps it would show us that if we don't act to avert crises sooner rather than later, the problems only get worse.

Climate activist Bill McKibben suggested something along those lines. "This might be the moment when we decide to fully embrace the idea that science, you know, works," he wrote back in March 2020. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called COVID-19 a "wake-up call" for climate change.

But here in the United States, we did not rise to the occasion. We did not wake up. Instead, we bungled much of our response to COVID-19, making the situation worse than it had to be. It's not clear we learned much of anything as a nation.

I was reminded of that again when the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its most dire report yet (each has........

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