What should climate policy after COVID-19 look like? In their new research, published in Environmental and Resource Economics, Franziska Funke, Linus Mattauch and Brian O'Callaghan from INET Oxford and David Klenert from European Commission draw lessons from the pandemic for the future of climate policy.
COVID-19 and climate change are markedly similar in that the worst damages are only diverted when society commits to decisive and early action in the face of an abstract threat. The pandemic shines light on the short-termism in contemporary political systems and exposes the very same psychological biases that lead people to underestimate both the virus and damages from climate change. Beyond that, the new research demonstrates what we can learn from the pandemic for addressing distributional issues and advancing international and sub-national collaboration on climate change. Finally, COVID-19 highlights that scientific policy advice needs to transparently balance factualness with inherent value judgments. The authors suggest turning to tailored approaches relying on environmental economics, political economy, behavioural science and applied philosophy to address these challenges. Learning from COVID-19 may provide an extraordinary opportunity to prepare policy-makers and citizens for the long-term challenges presented by climate change.
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