Sci Total Environ. 2022 Jul 4;844:157142. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157142. Online ahead of print.
The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change – two major current global crises – are far-reaching, the parallels between the two are striking, and their influence on one another are significant. Based on the wealth of evidence that has emerged from the scientific literature during the first two years of the pandemic, this study argues that these two global crises require holistic multisectoral mitigation strategies. Despite being different in nature, neither crisis can be effectively mitigated without considering their interdependencies. Herein, significant interactions between these two crises are highlighted and discussed. Major implications related to the economy, energy, technology, environment, food systems and agriculture sector, health systems, policy, management, and communities are detailed via a review of existing joint literature. Based on these outcomes, practical recommendations for future research and management are provided. While the joint timing of these crises has created a global conundrum, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated opportunities and lessons for devising sustainable recovery plans in relation to the climate crisis. The findings indicated that governments should work collaboratively to develop durable and adjustable strategies in line with long-term, global decarbonisation targets, promote renewable energy resources, integrate climate change into environmental policies, prioritise climate-smart agriculture and local food systems, and ensure public and ecosystem health. Further, differences in geographic distributions of climate change and COVID-19 related death cases reveal that these crises pose different threats to different parts of the world. These learnings provide insights to address the climate emergency – and potential future global problems with similar characteristics – if international countries act urgently and collectively.