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Opinion
Mihir Sharma

The World Is Going to Need a Covax for Climate

One thing poor nations have learned in the pandemic is that they shouldn’t count on access to life-saving innovations. The world can’t afford a repeat with green technologies. 

Rich countries won’t escape the consequences if poor ones can’t cut emissions. 

Rich countries won’t escape the consequences if poor ones can’t cut emissions. 

Photographer: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg

When he stunned the Glasgow climate conference by committing India to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a crucial caveat. Without the “transfer of climate finance and low-cost climate technologies," he said, developing nations such as India would never be able to achieve their ambitious targets.

That's not an idle worry. If we have learned anything during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's that the developing world cannot count on getting access to life-saving technologies quickly and affordably. With climate change, the consequences could be even more dire: The world will never be able to reach its climate goals if large emerging economies such as Brazil and India can't decarbonize just as fast as the U.S. and Europe do. World leaders need to address such concerns now, before they botch yet another global crisis.