Swiss Youth for Climate: climate policies after COVID-19

The Swiss Youth for Climate (SYFC), an association that promotes and raises awareness about climate change in Switzerland, invited State Councillor Marina Carobbio and Prof. Massimo Filippini (USI-ETH) to a videoconference to discuss climate policies after the Covid-19 emergency. The video of the conference held on 29 April is available on SYFC’s youtube channel.

The year 2020 started with climate at the centre of the political debate - think of the European Green Deal which, in the wake of the American one, proposed a roadmap to make the EU economy sustainable - but the topic has fallen into second place after a few months due to the current health and economic emergency. As stated by the two speakers, the Covid-19 emergency and the climate emergency share some similarities: both are global health emergencies that highlight our vulnerability, albeit unevenly (geographically or generatively). As Massimo Filippini points out, the current energy system dominated by fossil fuels is not only the major cause for climate change, but also leads to strong air pollution that results, according to a WHO study, in more than seven million premature deaths per year. However, the response to the two emergencies is different: if the climate emergency is silent, with shortand medium-term effects against which the world of politics and civil society intervene with slow and weak actions, the Covid-19 epidemic has, on the contrary, had an immediate echo, with a rapid political response with strict rules, a strong limitation of individual freedoms, and a great collaboration between civil society and governments.

"This health emergency should strengthen the political agenda of climate change not weaken it," Filippini explains, "politicians and the civil society have shown that they are able to adapt quickly to a common threat both with decisive and timely regulations and with gentle invitations, such as staying at home. We need to adopt the same approach shown for the Covid-19 emergency also towards the climate: on the one hand, with more incisive energy and climate policy measures in both industrialised and developing countries, for example, by reorienting development aid policy, and on the other hand, by making greater use of soft pushes, i.e. messages, information that encourage individuals to change their behaviour and make more informed choices".


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