polman4_Britta Pedersenpicture alliance via Getty Images_climate protest Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

A Marshall Plan for the Planet

The climate crisis has taken a back seat to COVID-19 this year, but prospects for bold international action to tackle global warming in 2021 are much more encouraging. There is no reason why the world cannot apply the ingenuity and agility it has shown during the pandemic to combat climate change while there is still time.

LONDON – In a year dominated by COVID-19, it’s perhaps understandable that we’ve neglected the most profound, existential crisis we face: runaway climate change. But we must quickly make up for lost time, before it’s too late.

Fortunately, the prospects for effective international climate action in 2021 already look much better than they did a few months ago. For starters, as soon as President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, the United States will rejoin the 2015 Paris climate agreement – the historic protocol that aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C, and preferably to 1.5°C, relative to pre-industrial levels.

This will send an unmistakable signal that the world’s biggest economy is again serious about accelerating its transition to net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions, and will build on China’s recent commitment to become carbon neutral before 2060. These two superpowers will define the twenty-first century, so the prospect of their enhanced climate collaboration provides real cause for optimism.

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