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U.K. scientists hope governments address climate change with lessons learned from coronavirus

March 28, 2020
Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images for ReSource 2012

The novel coronavirus pandemic has shown that governments have the ability to do a lot more with their financial resources, said Michael Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University College London, per The Guardian.

Marmot, who is also the chair of the commission of the social determinants of health at the World Health Organization, told reporters at a virtual meeting organized by Plan B and Extinction Rebellion, that "with COVID-19 everything went out the window" and that it turns out lack of government spending in the past was a choice (and not a good one, he argues), rather than a necessity. "The government can spend anything," he said, referring specifically to the United Kingdom in this instance.

Marmot said the pandemic has shown how swiftly governments can respond, but his hope is that such action continues going forward, which he argues has not been the case for other long-term crises like climate change. "Coronavirus exposes that we can do things differently," he said. "We must not go back to the status quo ante."

David King, who served as the U.K.'s chief scientific adviser between 2000 and 2008, agreed, calling for governments to address similar recovery plans to restructure the global economy, so it better fits a fossil fuel-free world. Read more at The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell