Analysis and Comparison of the Scope, Impacts, and Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Climate Change as Major Crises in the United States

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The COVID-19 pandemic has become the global crisis of 2020 and the focal point of much public attention. Climate change is the ongoing crisis of the industrial and post-industrial ages. The United States and the rest of the world are attempting to navigate both crises. This study researched and analyzed the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change as the major crises affecting the United States of America in terms of the scope of both crises, their impacts, and national responses. This project draws on the knowledge learned throughout the Energy Policy and Climate Change program such as the principles of climate change, its effects, and challenges with regards to implementing effective adaptation and mitigation measures. To the best of this researcher’s knowledge, this project is the first attempt to analyze both COVID-19 and climate change as contemporaneous crises occurring within the United States. As the pandemic continues to evolve, every passing month has offered new information relevant to this project, highlighting both this project’s novelty and the dynamism of the crisis. The research needed to complete this project drew initially from over two-hundred resources, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports to newspaper articles. Additionally, it forced “deep-dives” into the impacts of climate change, challenging preconceived notions, and brought to light the reality that the people most likely to suffer from one crisis are most likely to suffer both. Looking beyond this project, a next step beyond comparing and contrasting will be to splice the two crises to learn their independent effects and how overlapping impacts interact with each other. This would allow a cumulative analysis of the impacts on shared, vulnerable demographics in order to understand how crises in the U.S. continue the oppression of certain demographics of American society. This project should be considered a first step toward better understanding COVID-19, climate change, and the way in which crises are processed in 21st century American society.
COVID-19, climate change, United States