Isa Amaro Varas ’23 awarded distinguished Watson Fellowship
Scientists have long predicted a deadly global pandemic as inevitable. The same is true for climate change, yet there is a major departure between the two, writes Marc Zimmer, the Jean C. Tempel ’65 Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, in a Hartford Courant opinion piece.
“COVID-19 came rapidly, and its spread has been undeniable. That is not the case for climate change, where the changes are slower and less obvious,” Zimmer writes. “We are the fabled frog in the pot of water that is slowly warmed to boiling. We need to jump out before it is too late.”
Zimmer says that to successfully battle COVID-19 and future pandemics, as well as to reverse course on climate change, we must trust science and understand that some uncertainty is inherent in scientific experimentation. “It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength,” he said.
One advantage climate change mitigation has over COVID-19 is that the climate change world is smaller, Zimmer said. While globalization means that COVID-19 flare ups in any country increases the risk of reinfection in other countries, “It would only take the combined action of the top 10-12 carbon producing nations to reduce climate change,” Zimmer writes.
“Time is of the essence. … The sooner we take measures to reduce our fossil fuel dependence, the easier it will be. The longer we wait, the more draconian the measures required will be to prevent the impending climate catastrophe.”.