Coronavirus has rapidly risen to the forefront of everyday life as the virus drastically changes how we live our day-to-day lives; but early findings from NASA imply it may also be having an effect on other global issues such as climate change. Could our response to coronavirus indicate the true capabilities of collective action?

The efforts to combat coronavirus have highlighted that we are one community, dealing with threats to our health, wellbeing and way of life together – and perhaps they show how we can pull together to overcome a range of existential issues on a scale we haven’t seen for generations.

Whilst the collective global response to climate change has yet to be as clearly articulated as the recent response to coronavirus, there are examples of this happening on a smaller scale. Strategies like Bristol’s One City Climate Strategy are among the first attempts to lead communities in incremental, tangible terms to a cleaner, greener future through a clear pathway to which members of the public can align themselves. By setting out clear steps towards carbon neutrality, the strategy creates an opportunity for the public to see the role that they can play in reducing emissions.

The collective action towards coronavirus has had some unexpected effects across the globe.

Perhaps these findings indicate the scale of action that is actually required to combat climate change successfully. Whilst each nation has its own targets for climate change, a collective narrative and widespread action may be required to inspire and enforce the necessary changes to reduce emissions across the globe. Although there is no clear direction for combatting climate change in these challenging times, the results of recent weeks’ collective action provide a clear indication as to what is required to combat climate change on a global level.

In late 2019, we released some key findings from our research into the ‘Public’s attitudes to net zero emissions in the UK’. Our initial findings indicated that 64% of the public believed that not enough was being done to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The report detailed the public’s appetite for the change, and although the level of change we are experiencing now is extremely challenging for many of us, perhaps it demonstrates that with collective, decisive action we can work together to find solutions that protect us from future global crises.

We will be releasing our full report shortly, which features new data and insights from leaders across the infrastructure and development sectors.