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Is this really a turning point?

By Gwynne Dyer      

Last year saw an unprecedented upsurge in public concern about climate change—Australian wildfires, record floods all over the place, Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg—but all that has now been pushed aside by the coronavirus. Global heating and its associated disasters will kill far more people in the long run, but COVID-19 is killing them now.

A young lad, pictured on the Hill on May 3, 2019, at a protest calling on the Canadian federal government to take action on climate change. There’s no time for climate this year, and last year’s climate momentum will not automatically return when the virus is under control. Momentum takes time to build, and we are running out of time. There is no magical deliverance on the way, and, on balance, the current health emergency is setting back the cause of climate sanity, not advancing it, writes Gwynne Dyer. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

LONDON, U.K.—People who look for silver linings (a.k.a. optimists) think that COVID-19 might be the inflection point where we start getting serious about our relationship with the planet. There’s no direct link between coronavirus and climate change, but if a tiny virus can bring our whole bustling civilization to a halt, then how vulnerable will we be to a disordered environment driven by out-of-control global heating?

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