The COVID-19 crisis has changed nearly everything. In four short months, a preventable disease has caused millions of people to suffer, many to die, and sent economies across the globe into serious recession – a truly regrettable human disaster.
A timer is ticking, and just when you think you know how much time is left until the buzzer rings, you are presented with a new target. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050.
Vienna, Austria is a city steeped in centuries of history, which includes a mix of conservative tradition and cutting-edge innovation. Last June, tourists were wandering through cobblestone streets, museums and castles, eating schnitzel, and watching the World Cup. I was there too, on the grounds of a 19th century palace with over 100 participants for the European Evaluation Conference (formally referred to as International Energy Policy and Programme Evaluation Conference).