Our daily lives have changed dramatically in the span of just a few weeks. Around the world, the coronavirus crisis risks deepening socioeconomic inequalities. At the same time, the ongoing pandemic shows how such a threat can catalyze change, in a very short amount of time. It is fascinating to me how clear, imminent and personal danger has led to swift action on individual, company and government levels - something we have not seen in response to the threat of climate change, unfortunately.
While the corona crisis is immediate, climate change is a slower moving, systemic risk that must stay at the forefront of our agenda. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: "The corona virus is a disease that we hope will be temporary, with temporary impacts, but climate change has been there for many years and will be there for many decades, and requires continuous action."
At South Pole, we agree: This crisis should by no means slow down climate action. On the contrary, if not now, then when is the right moment to invest in a greener, more just and climate resilient economy?
Governments are investing billions in new support structures beyond health care. Many of the initial commitments are aimed at protecting jobs and ensuring liquidity. This will likely be insufficient if we are to prevent a global economic depression.
Let us therefore focus our new commitments on the transformation we already started. Let us take inspiration from the positive changes we can see today. New infrastructure that allows for a low-carbon lifestyle: technologies to work and shop virtually, leading to shorter or no commutes. People are choosing to bike or walk rather than trains or planes, and transport emissions are down. Should we ever go back to our previous lifestyle?
We all need to continue investing time, effort and resources in the climate transition, including at South Pole. Therefore, in addition to keeping our employees as safe as possible, we turn to the people on the ground who implement our projects. They reduce emissions and increase the resilience to a changing climate. It is key that we keep these projects alive, to continue the demand for the carbon credits that they generate, which provide a source of revenue for smallholder farmers in Kariba, for example. Today, more than ever before, we need to invest in a low carbon economy, both at home and abroad.
And here is some good news for you! As conferences are cancelled and networking opportunities disappear, we've put together a free webinar series to help you stay connected and up to speed on the latest insights, tools, and strategies to build long-term sustainability strategies. All our climate services continue, every step of the way.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste", Winston Churchill once said. This is the time for governments and companies to lead by example and pursue transformational change that will put us on a greener development path once we see economic recovery. At the center of South Pole's purpose is our commitment to climate action and a just transition for all. We look forward to working with you to ensure that we now take a firm hold of the low carbon future that we have long envisioned.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if there are additional ways in which we can support you.
CEO, South Pole