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Climate Change Needs an Operation Warp Speed

Climate Change Needs an Operation Warp Speed

If the Covid vaccine push has proved anything, it’s that big government works.

IN THE DISMAL early days of the pandemic, a vaccine seemed depressingly far off. Historically, the average time to develop a new vaccine was 10 years—far too long for our current emergency. But then something happened to shift things into overdrive: serious government action.

The White House and Congress created Operation Warp Speed and started plowing some $18 billion into it. The feds authorized huge, multibillion-dollar preorders for vaccines, and with such a large guaranteed market, pharmaceuticals moved into high gear. The government also threw its logistical know-how at the hellish challenge of distributing the vaccines. Scientifically, of course, we were prepared and lucky. Genetic sequencing was advanced and speedy, and scientists cooperated globally. But it was the critical push from governments (the US and others) that propelled the fastest vaccine mobilization in history.

It’s also an object lesson for our troubled time: When you’re facing a world-threatening crisis, there’s no substitute for government leadership.

This is worth reflecting on, because we’re surrounded by existential threats. Principally, climate change. The scale of the problem is massive.

So is the answer: Operation Warp Speed for climate.
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