Alumni Voice


“Thinking about Climate Change under this Covid-19 era”

Pichchanrathna Vorn

University student (Accounting major)

“COVID-19 is awful, climate change could be worse” said Bill Gates (Gates, 2020). The pandemic has affected the world’s social, economic, and environmental system in several ways and has turned the world into a deep recession. Accordingly, solving Covid-19 crisis has become the utmost priority while the emergency to take action on climate change is also critical. Consequently, the climate change crisis and unsustainable development could seriously harm the public health and affect the economy. As the next generation youth, I want to see and create a society where solutions to the Covid-19 crisis are decided carefully under the main goal to both recover the world from the Covid-19 crisis and tackle climate change. In this essay, I will be demonstrating how severe the climate change crisis is to the economy and the public health in comparison to the Covid-19 crisis, then the rising of sustainable initiatives taken globally and in Cambodia during Covid-19, and my contribution in taking part to tackle climate change.

First, the ignorance of climate change crisis could pose a serious global crisis for humanity just like or more severe than the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 crisis and Climate change both give side effects to the global public health and the economy. According to the World Economic Forum (2020), globally the Covid-19 pandemic could possibly cost the world from $8.1 to $15.8 trillion (Schwab, 2020). This is the financial loss from the pandemic. What about Climate Change? For instance, in 2019 hurricanes, wildfires and floods around the world cost the world $150 billion (Ziady, 2020). Not to say that natural disasters are becoming more and more extreme every year with links to Climate change (Kaplan, 2020). Thus the more extreme it gets, the more damage it will cause, and that will be costly to the economy. Indeed, the findings come from the Cambridge Climate Change Business Risk Index estimates that by 2040 total cost of global natural disasters will reach $234 billion (“New approaches to help businesses tackle climate change,” 2020). Additionally, according to an analysis in the journal Nature Communications, the global economy could lose from $150 to $792 trillion by 2100 as a result of the climate crisis (Shukla, 2020). Not only that, climate change will affect poorer countries more badly than richer countries especially those with hotter climate by reducing productivity (Vowles, 2020). Poorer countries have a big population that relies on the agricultural work. When climate change leads to more severe droughts and floods, intense rainfall, and longer period of intense summer, it lowers agricultural productivity. Therefore, the crop yields would decrease or be lost due to floods and droughts, etc., and the productivity will decline and result in lower profit.

Second, compared to Covid-19 pandemic that is a temporary threat to the public heath, climate change is a long-term concern for the global public health. Public health will be affected by the increasing air pollution, extreme heat, expansion of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, and malnutrition. In fact, the warmer, wetter and more variable conditions affected by climate change eventually open more doors for transmitting diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya, yellow fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus and Lyme disease in many parts of the world (Wyns, 2020). According to the World Health Organization (2018), “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250, 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress.” Besides, increasing air pollution plays the key role in determining the public health. Air pollutants contribute to climate change as it makes the world warmer. This air pollution comes from vehicles’ exhaust, factories, and the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline, etc.  According to the World Health Organization (2018), “Outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2016.” As a matter of fact, polluted air can weaken people’s health, shorten lives, cause diseases such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancers, etc. Thereby, it is important to cut down on the greenhouse gases to save lives and our planet from global warming and for a healthier public health. On the whole, these impacts could not be any less trivial than the Covid-19 pandemic; thereby it must not be left unsolved.

Third, despite the tragedy of Covid-19 crisis in addition to the emergency to tackle climate change, some hopeful plans and movements stepping towards the more sustainable practices are fortunately arising in the world. Even though Covid-19 has brought the worsts, it has taught the world beneficial lessons from facing a crisis. Likewise, future crisis like climate change is relatable to the Covid-19 crisis of how destructive it is to the society and the environment, and this realization has made major organizations and institutions around the world came to recognize the emergency of solving climate change. For instance, the European Commission, France, Canada, and the UK are some countries to use the stimulus packages to prioritize a sustainable recovery from Covid-19 (Wood, 2020). Transforming to clean energy such as solar and wind power is a great opportunity to aid the economic recovery post Covid-19 because it creates jobs, gives access to everyone with affordable electricity cost, and helps power health centers in rural area (Alers, 2020). In Cambodia, there are growing interest and investments into clean energy. The European Union (EU) promised to fund $5.9 million to advance Cambodian clean energy production and support the country’s green recovery post Covid-19 (Niseiy, 2020). There are two projects funded by EU such as “Switch to Solar” and “Promotion of sustainable energy practices in the garment sector in Cambodia”.

Lastly, as the next generation youth, there are some things I do to make fewer impacts to the environment and to trigger climate change. The contribution of every person is meaningful and important to solving climate change and the environmental problems. We must try to reduce our impacts by reducing or omitting plastics use, recycling, buying more local products, eating less animal products or none at all, buying secondhand, supporting climate change movements, etc. These are some things I am doing to contribute to a more eco-friendly environment. I will always be stepping forwards to make my lifestyle more and environmental friendly as much as possible.      On the whole, as the world is fighting back this pandemic crisis and making plans and transformations as a response to overcome the current challenges, the world leaders must take this opportunity to transform practices to be more sustainable and start fixing climate change in the earliest possible time to avert it becoming another future crisis. With lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic that taking early actions and preventions is more effective and less costly, this is true to climate change too. Along with this, it is foremost for the national and international levels to join the climate change movement and cooperate together to successfully build a hopeful and sustainable future after the Covid-19 pandemic.

「COVID-19はひどい、気候変動はもっとひどいかもしれない 」とビル・ゲイツ氏は言いました。(Gates、2020年)このパンデミックは、世界の社会、経済、環境システムに影響を与え、世界を深い不況に陥れています。したがって、Covid-19危機の解決が最優先課題となっている一方で、気候変動への対策を早急に講じることも重要な課題となっています。結果的に、気候変動の危機と持続不可能な開発は、公衆衛生に深刻な悪影響を与え、経済にも影響を及ぼす可能性があります。私は、次世代の若者として、世界がCovid-19の危機から回復することと、気候変動への取り組みの両方を主要な目標として、Covid-19危機の解決策が慎重に決定されるような社会を創りたいと思っています。このエッセイでは、Covid-19危機と比較して、気候変動の危機が経済や公衆衛生にどれほど深刻な影響を与えているかを示します。そして、Covid-19危機においてに世界的に、そしてカンボジアで行われた持続可能な取り組みの高まりについて述べ、それから気候変動への取り組みに参加した私の貢献を紹介したいと思います。

まず、気候変動の危機に対する無知は、Covid-19パンデミックと同じかそれ以上に深刻な世界的危機を人類にもたらす可能性があります。Covid-19危機と気候変動は、どちらも世界の公衆衛生と経済に思わぬ結果を与えます。世界経済フォーラム(2020年)によると、世界的にCovid-19パンデミックは、世界に8.1兆ドルから15.8兆ドルのコストがかかる可能性があるとシュワブ氏は示しています。(Schwab, 2020) これはパンデミックによる経済的損失です。気候変動についてはどうでしょうか?例えば、2019年には世界中でハリケーン、山火事、洪水が発生し、1500億ドルのコストがかかりました。(Ziady, 2020)自然災害が気候変動と連動して年々極端になっているのは言うまでもありません。(Kaplan, 2020)したがって、極端になればなるほど被害が大きくなり、その分経済的にもコストがかかることになります。実際、ケンブリッジ気候変動ビジネスリスク指数は、2040年までに世界的な自然災害の総コストが2340億ドルに達すると推定しています。(『ビジネスが気候変動に打ち勝つための新しいアプローチ』 2020)さらに、雑誌『ネイチャー・コミュニケーションズ』の分析によると、気候危機の結果、2100年までに世界経済は150兆ドルから792兆ドルの損失を被る可能性があるそうです。(Shukla, 2020)
それだけではなく、気候変動は豊かな国よりも貧しい国により悪い影響を与えます。特に温度の高い気候の貧しい国においては、生産性の低下によって悪影響が及ぼされます。(Vowles, 2020)

第二に、公衆衛生に対する一時的な脅威であるCovid-19パンデミックに比べて、気候変動は世界の公衆衛生に対する長期的な懸念事項です。大気汚染の増加、異常な暑さ、水を媒介する病気や媒介する病気の拡大、栄養失調などにより、公衆衛生は影響を受けることになるでしょう。実際、気候変動の影響を受けたより暖かく、より湿った、より変動の激しい条件は、最終的には世界の多くの地域でマラリア、デング熱、チクングニヤ熱、黄熱病、ジカウイルス、西ナイルウイルス、ライム病などの病気を媒介するリスクが高まります。(Wyns, 2020)世界保健機関(2018年)によると、”2030年から2050年の間に、気候変動により、栄養不良、マラリア、下痢、熱ストレスによる年間約250,000人の追加死亡者が発生すると予想されています。” さらに、大気汚染の増加は、公衆衛生の状況を決定する上で、キーポイントとなります。大気汚染は世界を温暖化させ、気候変動に影響を与えます。この大気汚染は、自動車の排気ガス、工場、石炭、石油、天然ガス、ガソリンなどの化石燃料の燃焼が原因です。 世界保健機関(2018年)によると、”都市部と農村部の屋外大気汚染は、2016年に世界で420万人の早死にをもたらしたと推定されています。” 実は、大気汚染は人々の健康を弱め、命を縮め、心臓病、心臓発作、脳卒中、慢性閉塞性肺疾患(COPD)、肺がんなどの病気を引き起こす可能性があります。そのため、地球温暖化から人命と地球を救い、より健康的な公衆衛生のために、温室効果ガスを削減することが重要です。総括すると、これらの影響はCovid-19のパンデミックよりも些細なことではなく、解決されないままにしておくべきではないのです。

第三に、Covid-19の危機という悲劇にもかかわらず、気候変動に緊急に対処することに加えて、いくつかの希望に満ちた計画や、より持続可能な実践に向けての動きが、幸いにも世界で生まれています。Covid-19は最悪の事態をもたらしましたが、危機に直面したことから世界に有益な教訓を与えてくれました。同様に、気候変動のような将来の危機は、それが社会と環境にいかに破壊的であるかというCovid-19の危機と関連性があり、世界中の主要な組織や機関に気候変動を早急に解決することの必要性を認識させました。例えば、欧州委員会、フランス、カナダ、英国などは、Covid-19からの持続可能な復興を優先させるために景気刺激策を利用してます。(Wood, 2020)太陽光発電や風力発電などのクリーンエネルギーへの転換は、雇用を創出し、誰もが手ごろな価格で電気を利用できるようになり、農村部の保健所への電力供給にも役立つため、Covid-19後の経済復興を支援する絶好の機会です。(Alers, 2020)カンボジアでは、クリーンエネルギーへの関心と投資が高まっています。欧州連合(EU)は、カンボジアのクリーンエネルギー生産を促進し、Covid-19後の同国のグリーン復興を支援するために590万ドルの資金提供を約束しました。(Niseiy, 2020)EUが資金提供したプロジェクトには、「太陽光発電への切り替え」や「カンボジアの衣料品部門における持続可能なエネルギー慣行の促進」など2つのプロジェクトがあります。




  1. Gates. (2020, August 4). COVID-19 is awful. Climate change could be worse. Bill Gates
  2. Schwab. (2020, August 3).  Fighting COVID-19 could cost 500 times as much as pandemic prevention measures.
  3. Ziady. (2020, January 8). Fires, storms and floods cost $150 billion in 2019. More disasters are on the way.
  4. World Health Organization. (2018, February 1). Climate change and health.
  5. Kaplan. (2020, October 22). The undeniable link between weather disasters and climate change.
  6. World Health Organization. (2020, May 2). Ambient (outdoor) air pollution.
  7. Wood.  (2020, July 22). Why this moment could be decisive for tackling climate change: Report.
  8. Niseiy. (2020, June 20). European Union Funding to Help Cambodia Build Clean Energy Capacity.
  9. Alers. (2020, May 15). How clean energy can power a COVID-19 recovery.
  10. Shukla. (2020, June 15).  Ignoring the Climate Crisis Could Cost Global Economy $792 Trillion.,cut%20down%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions.
  11. Vowles.  (2018, July 24).  Climate change will only affect the economic growth of the poorest nations.
  12. Wyns. (2020, April 9). Climate Change and infectious diseases.,many%20parts%20of%20the%20world.
  13. New approaches to help businesses tackle climate change. (2020).
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