The Geopolitics of COVID-19 and Climate Change

By Shiloh Fetzek

The Stockholm Environment Institute and Mistra Geopolitics hosted a webinar on the Geopolitics of COVID-19 and Climate Change on 3 April. It covered how the ongoing crisis might impact climate ambition in the near term, whether or not global cooperation around the Covid response might increase resilience and counteract trends toward nationalism and isolationism, and how best to integrate climate and sustainability objectives into pandemic recovery efforts.

The Directors of SIPRI and E3G, among other policy and academic experts, addressed the need to align climate agendas with other sectors in the wake of Covid, the importance of 2021’s opportunities for international cooperation, and how the experience of this health crisis could potentially improve governments’ and the public’s capacities to handle information on other crises and mobilize responses.

Speakers flagged the consequences of increasing food prices resulting from export restrictions, counterproductive responses to future debt burdens (e.g. extractive activities such as deforestation), and recovery support from Russia and China that locks in higher-carbon infrastructure as potential ways the Covid crisis may continue in other forms.

More information can be found on the event page, and the video is below.

* This post is part of the Council on Strategic Risks’ “Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent” Blog Series, designed to increase the tempo and scale of relevant and useful analysis during a time of crisis

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