Transcript: Episode 24
Could COVID-19 save the planet?
net zero, people, climate change, pandemic, ucl, world, transition, environment, society, affecting, climate science, climate, low carbon economy, home, happen, learned, hear, energy, problem
Rachel Freeman, Chris Rapley, Jacquie McGlade, Vivienne Parry
Vivienne Parry 00:06
Hello and welcome to Coronavirus: The Whole Story, our award winning podcast on every aspect of Coronavirus and how it's affecting us. My name is Vivienne Parry. I'm a writer broadcaster at UCL alumna and every week I'm given the key to the treasure chest that is UCL is astonishing range of expertise on all things Coronavirus. But no matter what aspect of Coronavirus is under discussion here at COVID Central, there's one thing that keeps cropping up the environment. Loyal listeners may remember that we spoke to scientists who said that new to man diseases like COVID are inevitable if animal habitats are degraded. He also talked to researchers deeply concerned by the explosion in production of single use plastics needed for PPE. So we thought it was about time we dedicated a whole episode of the environment, and in particular to climate change its role in the rise of COVID and even whether COVID might be our planet Saviour. If you're excited about today's episode and want more environment focused content, then you'll find much much more like this in UCS Beyond Boundaries conference, which starts today the 19th of October and runs until the 29th. You can find out more and register for free on Eventbrite and by following at UCL underscore SDGs on Twitter. So let me introduce my guests for this week, I'm joined from Kenya by Professor Jacquie McGlade from the Institute for global prosperity Jacquie is professor of natural prosperity, sustainable development and knowledge systems. What a top Professor title that one is, she researches how human societies interact with natural systems, and has developed different frameworks for measuring natural prosperity. My second guest this week will be well known to many of you Chris Rapley, a professor of climate change, and chair of the UCL policy Commission on the communication of climate science, as well as researching the impacts of climate science. Chris is committed to educating the wider public about these impacts. He co wrote the play 2071, the world will leave our grandchildren, which was performed at the Royal Court, and he's also been awarded the Edinburgh science medal for his work contributing to the well being of humanity. And last, but absolutely not least, I'm joined by Dr. Rachel Freeman from the Bartlett School of environment, energy and resources. Rachel is a research fellow in energy transitions. And her research focus is on sustainability and how we can transition to a low carbon economy. Right. We'll begin with a big question, Jacquie, easy peasy one for you. Did climate change cause Coronavirus?
Jacquie McGlade 02:48
Well, we don't have any direct evidence that climate change is influencing or caused COVID. But we do know that climate change changes how we relate to other species on Earth. And that really matters to our health and, in fact, our risk for infection. So as the planet is heating up, animals big and small on land and sea, they're sort of headed to the poles to get out of the heat, which means that animals are coming into contact with other animals that they normally wouldn't do. And that creates this opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts are creating new pools of zoonosis. So many of the root causes of climate change also increased the risk of pandemics or things like deforestation because of agricultural purposes, largest cause of habitat loss worldwide and really affecting climate change, that loss of habitat forces animals to migrate, they come into contact with others, and people and they share germs and viruses just like COVID. So these large livestock farms are also a possible source which spill over infections. And therefore what we see is that climate, the climate pandemic, so to speak, that that Nexus is really about how our health is being put at risk, because of all these different things that are going on.
Vivienne Parry 04:04
So I think we'll take that as a qualified Yes.
Jacquie McGlade 04:06
Okay. So the long answer, sorry.
Vivienne Parry 04:10
Coronavirus certainly seems to have a big impact on our awareness of climate change, Jacquie, and a lot of people are seeing this as a wake up call. So has there been an increased response in climate activism?
Jacquie McGlade 04:25
One of the things I do is track in the social media across all these continents near 6 million entries an hour what people are saying. And it's fascinating because before the Coronavirus, we actually had very little what I would say science content going on in the general public in the social media. What has happened, of course is that as things have changed as traffic has gone down in cities, people are realising what clean air really feels like and so the combination of Coronavirus, changing people's local environments has really been It's really significant in the conversations. And on top of that, people are reaching out for the science. So air quality, the fact that air quality affects our ability to withstand and get over the side effects, and the main effects of the of the covid really have come together, people understand it now personally, it's not just something at distance. And that's no bad thing to be quite honest,
Vivienne Parry 05:27
I have different communities responded to this in different ways.
Jacquie McGlade 05:32
Yes, completely. I mean, I'm sitting here in Nairobi, in Africa. And out in the bush, completely different approach. Obviously, a lot of people here in Africa were exposed to things like Ebola. And they're much, much more vigilant in some sense. I'm not saying that, that makes everybody able to undertake kind of social protocols like distancing, and so on, because people still have to go to work here. But there's a healthy respect for what the pandemic looks like when you're sitting in a country, which potentially doesn't have that safety net, compared to say what we see in the US and the UK. But as we monitor emotions, using these semantic technologies, we see that there's an elevated across the world, an elevated level of fear, anxiety, apprehension. And these are then played upon by events as they come in, whether they're political or real. Sadness waves, when in a lot of people die, and new statistics are put out. So what I would say is around the world, there is a heightened sense of those six major emotions around grief and sadness, and so on anger, that just can spark off other things. And that's effectively why we see small events, causing these cascading effects out onto the street, and a lot of political debate, I believe it's because of that heightened emotional setting.
Vivienne Parry 06:55
And it just tell us how is COVID affecting Kenya,
Jacquie McGlade 06:58
it's taking its toll, there's no doubt tourism just literally stopped dead overnight. And that had an amazing impact on the economy. For example, out in the bush, where my family is, the Maasai, they have not seen sight of tourists, and therefore there's no money, there's no revenues, nothing's coming in. So it's survival mode there. But on the whole, the whole country is now getting back to having the kids come back to school. So we have some classes back in school, some universities are opening for their final years. But on the whole, people have stayed at distance. And a lot of people stayed out in the farms in the bush out in the upcountry areas. So it had a huge environmental and economic impact. But there's, I wouldn't say there's a greater sense of resilience. But there is a way in which people are able to survive, I think far deeper cuts and changes than perhaps they are in Europe.
Vivienne Parry 07:54
What's interesting about all of this is that we talk about a greater awareness of the environment. And we're all hoping that that will translate into a long-term focus on the environment. But actually might economic concerns intervene, because after all, in the UK, and it's, you've just said in Kenya, because of the impact on tourism, you're seeing a lot of people lose their jobs. And those are going to be top of the agenda. And that might not be good for the environment. And in fact, almost certainly isn't.
Jacquie McGlade 08:30
I'm fairly sure in most capitals, governments are discussing precisely this, but I have great hope because I am really seeing that things are moving, we had the bringing together not only of the Paris, sort of climate outcomes, in other words, you know, net zero emissions and so forth, but then the powerhouse of biodiversity coming in your net positive game. Now, these big policy issues are genuinely changing the conversation. And I am pretty optimistic that it's not about build back better. It's not about business as usual. Because I think fundamentally, what I can detect from these sort of different semantics that we look at is that there is a sense of purpose, people are seeking more meaning in their lives. And when you have people who are being led more by values as opposed to necessarily by economics, you get different outcomes and environmental conditions are one of those. So I am an optimist. I know many people say that, but I do see that some of the log jams in the policy world have started to move aside. And even in the UK, we have these new plans for environment land management. We have ambitious targets being set at local levels by county councils, Essex and others talking about 30% of land setting aside for biodiversity gains. These are all things that six months ago, were almost inconceivable and I think once you start down that road of localised, really empowering people to change that local environment and create local economies, then actually, you've got a different conversation going on, which is not driven only by national policy.
Vivienne Parry 10:08
Thank you. That's fascinating. And at the beginning of lockdown, of course, when everyone was inside and all the public places were shut, there was a lot of talk about nature returning, and the potential for Coronavirus to curb some of the impacts of climate change. Chris, was this the case? Really? Or was this just a fervent imagination?
Chris Rapley 10:31
I think it was a bit of a romantic hope. It's certainly true that given the opportunity, nature can recover very quickly. I'm a great fan of the this sort of rewilding work that we've seen carried out by Isabella Tree and her people at NAB, that shows that the the environment has a remarkable capacity to to recover, if you if you allow it too. But I don't think that everybody being constrained to their homes for a while had a massive effect on on the environment, it had a tremendous effect on air quality, you know, I still keep close to the to the world of of satellite observations of the planet. And the the drop in that period from March to April, in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over the major European cities was 50%, you know, so 50% drop. And I guess we all saw those pictures from Delhi and so on where you could see see into the distance and see a blue sky in ways that hadn't occurred for decades. But no, I think unfortunately, things are are slowly returning to normal. We had all hoped that we would build back differently in a way that paid more attention to nature, but I'm not sure that that is really happening.
Vivienne Parry 11:47
So a bit of a wave of pessimism coming from you. But do you think it's had any positive impact on the climate crisis? COVID?
Chris Rapley 11:55
Yeah, oh, I think it has, I think it's brought home to people that planning ahead is a smart thing to do. I mean, a major pandemic was either number one, or close to number one, on the UK, risk register, and indeed many other nations risk registers for a decade or more. And what we've seen is that those countries that took that seriously and carried out basic risk management, you know, how you how you reduce the probability of something happening, and how you reduce the impact of it if it does happen. So there are some exemplars with with COVID, you know, South Korea and some of the Asian nations and so on New Zealand, where they had not only plan but they also reacted very quickly. And then there are other examples, some very close to home where the response was, was evidently a shambles. You can you can see that in the in the mortality statistics. And this is a lesson in about long term thinking and long term planning. And, and that's our problem with climate change our Palaeolithic brain, are tuned to the sort of 200 millisecond response time so that we can jump out of the way if something falls on us. Or given that there's been an arms race in the biological world, we can jump out of the way if or if a snake strikes at us or whatever it is. So we have a very, very, very strong system to respond to very short timescale threats. And and indeed, our brain operates on those timescales, the fact that we're holding this conversation without long lags between, you know, Question and Answer shows that we're tuned to live in the moment. And we react much more than we think. And and the problem with climate change, like so many of these other environmental issues, biodiversity loss, and so on, is that we're suffering slow violence. And our bodies just don't react to that we need institutional mechanisms to allow us to deal with those sorts of problems. And unfortunately, those institutional mechanisms aren't always that effective. And in the case, both of this pandemic and climate change, were struggling.
Vivienne Parry 13:59
So I did ask you how it had any positive impact?
Chris Rapley 14:03
Well, well, okay. Let me Let me twist that around then and say, yes, the point is, I think that's broad. It's brought that home to a lot of people who are saying, we really, really have to take these things seriously and do the risk management properly and do better. And I think there's lots of evidence I see it all the time from business, government, local people. I particularly like Jaquie's comment about localism and communities. I mean, one thing that COVID has done is it's brought home to us the value of having community support, you know, which is pretty much all we've been able to access while we've been fairly heavily locked down. So I think it's been a real object lesson and hopefully we will learn those lessons and do a lot better in future and handling climate change will be one of one of the outcomes.
Vivienne Parry 14:52
Now I kind of hesitate to ask you this, Chris, but has it had any negative impact?
Chris Rapley 14:56
It's it's difficult to say I I think
Vivienne Parry 15:00
PPE isn't, I mean, the explosion in the use of single use plastic?
Chris Rapley 15:05
Well, I mean, it's, you know, if you go for a walk, you will see lots of abandoned, you know, masks and so on. And so the animals are going to be choking on those along with the plastic bottles and everything else that we're trying to get to cleared up. So yes, there's been some some immediate negative impacts, you know, just exacerbated the problems that we face already. But I really think that the mindset as we move on, because I hear people say, when we, when we get over COVID, we're never going to completely get over COVID will be with us. But we will find ways of managing it. And I think we'll learn a great deal from that. And as Jacquie said, it's, it's engaged people in a way, you know, that they have been embroiled in this, whether they like it or not. And so it started a an adult conversation that wasn't quite as prevalent previously. So I, I think, as we move into the new world, where many of us will continue to work a lot of our time from home tele working, that will have a positive effect that will reduce transport emissions and so on, you know, we will see what emerges from this, it's difficult to say at present what the net result will be. But there have been some negative aspects and some positive ones.
Vivienne Parry 16:18
I was going to ask you what you thought the impact would be long term. I mean, imagine, you know, 10 years from now, you're looking back? What do you think the effect might be? out at those margins?
Chris Rapley 16:33
What probably the biggest impact is we look back is that it turned out that we could kind of turn on a sixpence even though we thought we couldn't. So, you know, things have happened in, you know, the last few months, that were kind of unimaginable, just in terms of the politics of trying to manage the economy and manage people's protection. At the same time, the way anybody who had for example, invested in large office blocks, now finds that their future is uncertain away in a way that they couldn't possibly have imagined. So that so the world will be different. And all of the time that we've been told all well, you know, it's impossible to make major structural changes in society, because we're all locked in. That's been demonstrated to be wrong. So I suspect that the long term effect will be that people will be able to point to that and say, No, you don't, you know, we can make these changes if we really want to, so let's get on with it.
Vivienne Parry 17:30
Yeah, so much has been discovered to be a complete lie, like the, you know, people can't work from home because they won't be productive, it's impossible to allow people with disabilities to work from home. And that turned out to be a lie, you know, all those things. It's been a very rapid reassessment of, of what we thought was possible, as, as you say,
Chris Rapley 17:55
well, and of all the things that are changing exponentially, it's computer technology, artificial intelligence, our ability to link in the way that we can now if COVID had hit us five years ago, it would have been a rather different story, I think, wouldn't it and we're still in that transition. But what we can expect over the next five or 10 years, is quite unbelievable, unimaginable changes in terms of our connectivity, and our capacity to do things with digital technology. And so from that point of view, our power to modify the way we live is growing all the time.
Vivienne Parry 18:30
And I must admit, there was a kind of conspiracy almost, in which at the time of lockdown, it was the most sensationally beautiful weather that we've had, in many a long time. And I think people were able to see the environment, perhaps in a way that they hadn't seen it for years and years and years. It was extraordinary.
Chris Rapley 18:52
I think so I saw a study the other day, people were saying, during that first month where they could hear the birds, they're saying, you know what, the, the birds are singing differently. And everybody said, No, no, no, you can just hear them. But there was a study done that showed that the birds were singing differently because their noise environment had abated. And so they were able to hear each other a lot better. And they changed the way they performed to mark out their territories and so on. So I think that's rather a lovely consequence of a rather horrible experience. But yes, nature responded in many ways.
Vivienne Parry 19:21
Thanks, Chris. Now you're listening to Coronavirus the whole story a podcast brought to you by UCL Minds. And if there's a question about Coronavirus, you'd like our researchers to answer please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @UCL. In many ways Coronavirus, has been the first test for the UK in terms of how we began to respond to the inevitable climate change crisis of the future, both in terms of what decisions that government makes and the responses of society to those choices. Rachel, let me turn you know, what have we learned about the government's response to Coronavirus? In terms of future emergencies? I don't know, whether I dare off question given the shambles we found ourselves in.
Rachel Freeman 20:12
Yeah, I don't know, complete shambles. I think that the the interesting thing is what the government have had to do in a very short time. So they've had to, obviously try to make sure all our essential services are running, while fighting the pandemic, which has this whole characteristics of, you know, you have to try and keep people apart, keep the economy going. And because we're lucky enough in this country to have a really good health care system, we expect, you know, quite good quality of service. But then at the same time, we're spreading our resources very thin. And also, we're kind of going into debt to be able to achieve all this with the assumption that this is a very short term problem. It's a bit like, wait, I mean, Britain's been to crises like this before, you know, to wars and pandemics, but it's different now because of our lifestyle. And what we're used to what we've become used to,
Vivienne Parry 21:04
do you think that government can draw on this experience to legislate for more action on climate change? Why do you think the public sit with that at the moment?
Rachel Freeman 21:16
Yeah, I think it's, it could go either way. I mean, that in one way, others have said, there's been a sort of shock to the system, which means that there's a possibility of new thinking on lots of different things. But on the other hand, a lot of people might just be concerned about their household, finances, and all kinds of really basic stuff. And there also might be a sense of uncertainty and fear about the future and sort of not wanting to deal with more than one thing at a time. So I think it's probably varies a lot across society.
Vivienne Parry 21:48
How do you think the public has responded? I mean, has the experience of dealing with Coronavirus and what the public have had to do affected their attitudes towards making large scale changes and sacrifices as a society in order to help combat climate change? Or do you think, as you've just hinted that short term ism is going to prevail?
Rachel Freeman 22:10
Yeah, obviously, I think the the understanding across society has been that this is a thing that needs attention right away. So. So the short term response was, you know, I think especially at the beginning of the lockdown was generally a very good, then I think we're getting into a bit of pandemic fatigue. And what we're seeing now is this effects of the COVID response, now starting to affect other things such as, you know, other types of medical care, economic impacts, which also affect people's well being. And and so there is a sense of, you know, how much more when can we get back to normal, if you like, the phrase a lot of people talk about these days. Yeah, and, of course, climate changes is a different kind of emergency to much more very, very much slower. And it has a sort of permanency, or potential permanency attached to it. So, the desire is to get back to what what it was. And maybe, you know, consumption doesn't necessarily have to go back to the levels that it was back in February,
Vivienne Parry 23:29
your work is on how we can transition to a low carbon economy. And what we've been seeing, as Chris was developing earlier, is the way that things have been have transitioned very rapidly. We've, you know, gone from doing no, almost no consultations in doctor's surgeries, for instance, on screen to do an enormous number of them. So we have transitioned to a different future, really, very rapidly. Is that the same? Is the same thing true for a low carbon economy
Rachel Freeman 24:02
in some respects. Yeah, I would say that some of the things Yeah, right. It is a kind of transition that we've gone to. However, I think for some people, that assumption is that this is temporary, and it will go back to how it was before with of course, some will not go back to how it was before but think people, things like Doctor surgery, we would like most people would like to see a doctor in person. So I don't know how permanent that change will be. So in an energy transition, that there will be a permanent shift away from fossil fuel. So it's not quite the same thing. The transition also is partly gone on the supply side where you most people are not really involved with that. So it's it's the role of the energy industry to to do that. And in terms of what individuals might have to do, as part of the energy transition, not very much depends on how well how well we do the supply side. You know, how much low carbon power we can produce and also how high Well, we can do things like energy efficiency. So you know, there's probably going to be some behavioural changes needed, possibly only sort of for a short term, we find out better ways to do things. But yeah, the digital side of things has been really tremendous to see how much how much you can do with it. And I think that's going to be a really big help with energy transition.
Vivienne Parry 25:23
And there is an opportunity, if there are, you know, there's a very large number of people unemployed, then one of the things where people could be most usefully employed is, for instance, you know, in green transition, I mean, whether it's, you know, replacing boilers or all sorts of things like that. It's creating new jobs in green energy, for instance.
Rachel Freeman 25:45
Yeah, absolutely. It is. It is it, there's a break in normality. And it does provide that opportunity to briefing what we do on a daily basis, and what values we have and how it fits into a low carbon, low resource world. Definitely. And I think not just in sort of demand management, not just on the energy side of energy production, but also across things like land management, and all kinds of things like vertical farming, and lots of new ways to do things. There's loads of great stuff happening things like, you know, growing insects, to feed cattle, so they don't have to go, you know, feed on grain, and things like that, which are, there's just a tremendous amount of creativity going into that. So a lot of opportunity for entrepreneurs, for people thinking about new ways of using energy or dealing with resources. So as we try to live in a much more low resource world fear, yeah, in a way for those who want to innovate and get creative, there's actually a tremendous amount of opportunity.
Vivienne Parry 26:45
Some optimism, thank you. I'm not having to get you, Chris. Honestly, I'm not one final question for all of you this week. And that's what one thing Have you learned about climate change from Coronavirus?
Jacquie McGlade 27:00
Jackie, I think for me, it's, we should have learned the lessons A long time ago. But here's here's my take on this, we didn't really succeed in convincing the world about climate change, quite honestly. I mean, it's just taken so long, we were talking about this in the 70s and 80s. And we could not persuade politicians to do something. And what's happened with COVID is that people have been able to connect up the pieces, until a very different story, one, which is both global planetary, you know, things moving around, viruses jumping around, and so on. And at the same time, bringing it right down to the individual, very, very personal. Climate change is just as personal, it is just as individual. So I feel that what I've been able to see is that there's a very different conversation going on. And of course, it's been brought to the fore by this idea of it's about survival. But in the end, climate change is about survival. So what I've learned is that you need to step out of the normal box of conversations, and engage people in a very different way, both emotionally as well as with evidence. And here I've seen with COVID, people are reaching out for evidence, they don't want fake news, they want the Real News, they want to see the facts and the figures. And so what I'm learning is, how do you get that across now for climate change? So I see a very different way that the public is reacting to evidence compared to how they reacted in the past to climate change. And I want to learn from that.
Vivienne Parry 28:24
But how do you known what you know? Now? How could you have changed your previous messages about climate change?
Jacquie McGlade 28:35
I think to be honest, we spent a long time of course, you have to do this in the scientific community, building the evidence base, but trying to persuade people through logic. And what was refreshing, of course, was when we saw you know, what was happening on the streets, Friday's for climate change, and so forth, how young people sort of skipped over that, and said, we believe the scientist, let's move on. So I think we became far too preoccupied. And that's really what I've learned, what would I do? What I wouldn't unleash a virus on the world? Of course not. But I think we should have made more of the, of the incidents that occurred around the world, and allowed ourselves to be a little bit more emotional on Yes, emotional and expansive. And instead of standing behind, well, you know, we might potentially very likely be in the 90% certainty, you know, just say, it's gonna happen. But it may not happen tomorrow. It certainly is a being much more upfront about what climate change really is going to do to us and due to the planet,
Vivienne Parry 29:37
Chris, you're the great communicator of climate science. Does that all ring true with you?
Chris Rapley 29:44
Yes, very much. So. I've been obviously thinking about this and working on this for a while working with lots of interesting people, neuroscientists and marketers and narrative specialists and so on. And we realised a few years ago that climate science community in fact, scientists in general operate under this sort of myth that science is very unemotional and and we're all terribly impartial. And if we show any signs of emotion, or indeed, if we become advocates, or indeed activists, this somehow undermines our trustworthiness. And that's a really deeply embedded condition under which most scientists operate. But but we're all members of society. And so we came up with this idea of the informed citizen. And indeed, I'm an informed citizen. And the information that I have is being paid for pretty much totally out of the public purse, I see I have an obligation as well as an ability to deliver that. So the idea behind the 2008 2071 play was that it was a fireside chat, it was me with my i'd no white coat or or gown off. And the the offer was, you know, if you want to come in here, the formal climate science, so to all the bells and whistles of caveats and conditions, you know, by all means, come and listen to that. But this is different. This is me, telling you what I feel and think about climate change. And it was clear that that had a real connection in a way that a public formal lecture did not very difficult to scale up. That's the only problem. And in a way, it's why David Attenborough has an edge, because he's not constrained in quite the same way. In fact, quite the opposite. He's seen as the figure of authority, who's introduced people to the natural world over a long period of time. And so he has a level of permission to say things that many climate scientists still feel uncomfortable about. And so we're seeing a lot more of that, though. You know, Jim Hansen in the States has stepped out of his formal role as a climate scientist, and he's an activist now, you know, and the climate science community has, has always, I think, heard on the side of least drama. And when you talk to strategists, they say, No, actually, I need to know, the absolute worst that could happen. Even if the probability is tiny, please tell me about it. Because I need to understand that and then work back from it in the way that I make my decisions. So I think we're seeing a big shift in the way the climate science community sees its role in delivering value and benefit to society. It's not going fast enough. But it's very encouraging.
Vivienne Parry 32:21
And one of the things that I see from that, is that how the arts and humanities are absolutely critical to science, because arts and humanities know how to do that emotional stuff, and we need those relationships. So let me turn now to Rachel, what about you? What What have you learned about climate change from Coronavirus?
Rachel Freeman 32:44
Yeah, I think it created a shock to us of modern lifestyle that I think nobody saw it coming. And it was quite dramatic, and especially your restrictions on how much we can consume, to travel, interruptions to supply chains and things like that. So we sort of got a bit of a reality check on that we were not invincible in terms of keeping everything going growing indefinitely. And we and we've, we've done that for the first time in in our sort of modern, highly interconnected society. So it doesn't compare exactly to previous pandemics or previous situations like was, so yeah, we learned, we learned what we did, okay, and where things failed, but I think it was a mixed response. Of course, it could have been better or worse, but it's how we dealt with a situation where we were dealing with this new disease that we didn't quite know how it was going to play out and, and also quickly spread across the world. And due to international travel, so I think in specific tend to be UK, I think it revealed some strengths in our I call it our economy, but you know, it's really our, our way of life as well. And that it has some strengths in terms of it, you know, we could manage to do things like furlough people, and keep everything going. But at the same time, you can see that there's a limit to that. And, and our economy is fragile, in terms of its dependence on high consumption activities, and especially services which which tend to disappear very quickly when you have something like a pandemic and people control. So I think, you know, this the idea of a more robust economy, and one that's very innovative and responsive to changes. So very creative, you know, a lot of encouragement, I think, for startups and people thinking up new ways to do things, and also a better mix of manufacturing and services, and less dependence on imports, especially with quite large energy imports, which is scary if you think about what would happen if there are interruptions to that for any reason. So yeah, I think we should act really decisively to reduce emissions as fast as we can rather but but we have to deal with the energy trilemma, you know, affordability and security as well. sustainability. So it's the whole thing of balancing these these competing strains but but really now start to really transition towards a low resource use society, but hopefully one that isn't very isn't isn't horrible to live in to them because they'll have a nice life.
Vivienne Parry 35:15
Well, thank you very much for that. And to all of you. You've been listening to Coronavirus the whole story This episode was presented by myself Vivienne Parry, produced by UCL with support from UCL health of the public and UCL grand challenges and edited by the totally lovely Cerys Bradley. Our guest today were Professora Jacquie McGlade and Chris Rapley and Dr. Rachel Freeman. If you'd like to hear more of these podcasts from UCL Minds, subscribe wherever you download your podcasts, or visit ucl.ac.uk forward slash Coronavirus. Don't forget the UCL Beyond Boundaries conference is taking place at all this week until the 29th of October, and you can get involved on the UCL website. This podcast is brought to you by UCL Minds bringing together UCL knowledge, insights and expertise through events, digital content and activities open to everyone. Hope to be with you again soon.