A collective solution to Covid-19 and climate change | Letters

Only through state intervention can we fight the twin crises of coronavirus and the heating planet

Capitalist orthodoxies fail in the face of “a crisis that can only be endured and resolved by rediscovering the virtues of collectivism and solidarity”, writes Andrew Rawnsley (Comment). Precisely, and this is why a similar approach is needed to confront the climate emergency – and why rightwing governments will fail to do so unless they adopt a leftwing approach that does not prioritise market and profit and instead sees the merits of massive state intervention. And the coronavirus crisis rather pointedly undermines Philip Cerny’s remark that the nation state cannot have a key role in this (“My solution to the climate crisis”, Letters). What we are learning now is the importance, yes, of individual responsibility and local initiatives but also of decisive governmental action to enforce the suspension of business as usual, and of international cooperation. The only other essential element is a recognition that the climate emergency is just as pressing and very much more of a mortal threat than even the current pandemic.
Jem Whiteley
Oxford

I read with interest the interview with Professor Tim Lang with its important messages and mention of Covid-19 (“Why our food supply system doesn’t work”, Focus). I too am concerned about the UK’s food supply chains, given it imports at least half of its food. If imports of food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, decline because countries like Spain and Italy are going to struggle to feed themselves because of this pandemic, this would affect the diet of the UK’s population, particularly the elderly, young and disadvantaged. It would be reassuring to know what the UK government’s contingency plans are.

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