Australian news, and some related international items

Coronavirus shows that international co-operation is essential, as it is for climate action

Coronavirus hasn’t killed globalisation – it proves why we need it The Conversation  Sunil Venaik  Associate Professor of International Business, The University of Queensland, May 6, 2020  “………………… One person practising social distancing during the pandemic might think their effect is negligible. But coronavirus is highly infectious: on one estimate, a single person with coronavirus could eventually infect 59,000 others.

Similarly, many countries seek to avoid responsibility for taking climate action by claiming their contribution to the global problem is small. The Australian government, for example, repeatedly points out it contributes just 1.3% to the world’s emissions total.

But on a per capita basis, Australia is one of the world’s highest emitters. And as a rich, developed nation, we must be seen to be taking action on cutting emissions if poorer nations are expected to follow suit. So actions Australia takes will have major global consequences.

Act quickly

In the two months it took the virus to spread from China and become a global pandemic, other nations could have readied themselves by amassing test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. But many nations did not adequately prepare.

For example the US was slow to implement a widespread testing regime, and Japan did not declare a nationwide state of emergency until mid-April.

Of course the world has had a far longer time to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The time lag between emissions and their consequences is years, even centuries. There has been ample opportunity to take progressive and thoughtful corrective action against climate change. Instead, the crisis has been met with complacency.

As the COVID-19 experience has shown, the longer we delay action on climate mitigation, the more global, costly, and lethal the consequences.

Challenges ahead

As others have noted, a major supplier of swabs used for coronavirus testing is based in Italy, and a German company is a primary supplier of chemicals needed for the tests. Many counties rely on foreign suppliers for ventilators, and an Indian firm – the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer – says once a COVID-19 vaccine is ready for mass production, it will supply large volumes to the world, at low cost.

It’s clear that international cooperation is critical for effective mass testing and treatment for the virus. Nations must work together to improve production and distribution, and resources must be shared.

So too is cooperation needed to deal with the worldwide economic downturn. The global recovery will be long and slow if nations adopt sovereign mindsets, putting up barriers to protect their own economies.

With the coronavirus as with climate change, working together is best way to secure humanity’s safety, health and well-being.

May 7, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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