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Covid: a once-in-a-century opportunity to change the world

Faith groups must not miss the opportunity to spur the world to use the Covid-19 crisis as a catalyst to tackle climate change. That was the message from a special Zoom briefing on the role of faiths and the post-Covid economy and environment on Thursday 21, hosted by the UK's Religion Media Centre in collaboration with FaithInvest.

BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath told the meeting early signs were that the pandemic would lead to a fall in global emissions of about seven per cent for the whole of 2020, by far the greatest single-year drop in modern history.

“It could mean that 2019 might be the year when emissions of carbon dioxide on the planet might have peaked,” he said. But the question was if governments would use this unforeseen moment to reinforce commitments to green investment and renewable energy, or decide to try to reinflate the old fossil fuel economy.

Lorna Gold, vice-chair of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said this was a pivotal moment: 'The greatest threat is the desire to return to normality. But normality was killing the planet. There is now a real need to support the transition to a new normal.'

Martin Palmer said the faiths had a major role to play in helping to reshape the post-Covid world, not least because they were major stakeholders in the planet, owning eight per cent of the habitable land surface, running a third of medical facilities and together comprising a significant investing bloc on the global stock markets.

Former Danish environment minister Esben Lunde Larsen, who now works for the World Resources Institute think tank, said this was a once-in-a-century moment to change what the world looks like. We were living in a health crisis that had prompted an economic crisis, but it was all in the context of the continuing climate crisis.

You can read the full article on the briefing by Tim Wyatt on the Religion Media Centre website. The RMC is an impartial and independent body founded to help journalists and other media professionals cover religion. And listen to quotes from Matt McGrath and Martin Palmer below.


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