Getting people to care about climate change as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe is tough—but not impossible, several Colorado political and environmental leaders said during a webinar Tuesday hosted by CU Boulder.

“Power Dialog: Climate Solutions for Colorado” was hosted by Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Max Boykoff, Associate Professor of Communication Phaedra Pezzullo and engineering undergraduate student Andrew Benham. Similar events were hosted by universities nationwide. At least 251 people tuned in from across the state for the event. 

Here are five key takeaways:

1.) We could have imagined this future

COVID-19 is giving us a stark lesson about what happens when we ignore warnings from science, and our systems are vulnerable to extreme events, as COVID-19 has revealed, said Eban Goodstein, director of the Center for Environmental Policy at Bard College in New York and organizer of this national webinar series. 

“We need to listen to and trust scientists, and act on their knowledge sooner rather than later,” Goodstein said. 

For example, relying on sound science to make policy decisions has made a huge difference in the number of deaths in South Korea compared to the United States. Both countries saw their first case reported on the same day

“In the same way, the sooner we act on climate change, the better our global outcomes can be. The longer we wait, the more work it will take to address,” said Pezzullo.

2.) Environmental health is directly tied to human health

As reported by The New York Times, air pollution makes negative health impacts of COVID-19 worse. And improving air quality improves both public health and reduces greenhouse gases, Pezzullo noted.

“Clean air action should be integral to our COVID-19 Colorado and climate change response,” Pezzullo said. 

Panelist and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter said this means addressing the extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which…

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