GREEN RECOVERY MEASURES

The post-coronavirus economic recovery will be green

#environmental sustainability #economy #society

The COVID-19 pandemic is battering the global economy and forcing the “powers that be” to roll out short-term strategies to inject liquidity into markets, provide support for the unemployed and boost health systems with resources. Governments around the world are designing medium and long-term economic recovery programmes, and many legislators, organisations and companies are planning a green recovery.

The stimulus programmes that will be applied after the coronavirus crisis will have a massive, long-lasting impact. This is why we must be meticulous in ensuring their social and economic benefits while strengthening our healthcare and other systems to deal with future shocks. The pandemic has revealed that society is vulnerable to global threats and that we need to listen to scientists who have long been warning of the potential outcomes of situations like climate change.

Climate change is at the root of numerous problems, many of which are equally or potentially more dangerous than those caused by the coronavirus. The phenomenon is still one of the main threats to our society such as climate events and it will exacerbate and accelerate other issues such as dwindling biodiversity, health problems, climate migrations, etc. Given the current situation, a movement has emerged that is advocating a post-coronavirus recovery that strengthens a stablished roadmap of transition to a new social and economic model which will be climate neutral, resilient, sustainable and inclusive.

Experts are highlighting the advantages of a green recovery over the traditional approach. In fact, a report released by Oxford University [PDF] based on a study of more than 700 fiscal stimulus policies and interviews with experts all over the work shows that green stimulus policies will create more green jobs, also superior short-term ROI and will have a greater long-term multiplying effect in comparison to traditional approaches.

GREEN RECOVERY INITIATIVES AND MEASURES

Advocates of green stimulus measures aligned with climate objectives are emerging from all sectors of society. Let's take a look at some of these measures and initiatives:

 Multilateral bodies

  • The United Nations (UN) has launched a powerful campaign through some of its agencies calling for the economic stimulus programmes to be aligned with the climate objectives and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has promised monetary and financial security measures to drive strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
  • The World Bank (WB) has published a list of sustainability criteria to guide government policymakers when assessing stimulus packages.

 Governments

  • European governments and institutions are increasing their support for a green recovery. The European Green Deal, a road map to sustainable, resilient economic growth, has been in place since the start of the crisis, underlining the role of sustainable financing and a fair transition. And this was manifested not only by the president of European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, but also by its executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans. In the same vein, 17 member states, including Germany, France and Spain, asked for using the European Green Deal to Brussels as a tool for economic recovery.
  • Around the world, countries like China, Japan and South Korea are starting to launch stimulus packages that emphasise new technologies and electrification.

 Business and financial sector

The 7 priorities for Green Recovery of global economy.#RRSSThe 7 priorities for Green Recovery of global economy.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: The 7 priorities for Green Recovery of global economy [PDF]

 Energy sector

  • A statement from the Energy Transition Commission (ETC), a group of 40 sector organisations that includes large companies, financial institutions and other bodies, has established seven priorities for spending on economic stimulus packages to help build a healthier, more resilient, zero net emissions economy.
  • The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is a group of 100 players in the sector which have established a Coalition for Action to promote the role of renewable energy in the recovery. The IRENA Global Renewables Outlook shows how to align recovery efforts with the Paris Accord to benefit societies and economies around the globe.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) is also calling for a focus on clean energy, acknowledging that this is a critical moment for governments to adapt their policies to more ambitious climate change action.

 Civil society

One of the most important initiatives is the open letter from Costa Rica's Minister of the Environment and the Club of Rome through its Climate-Planetary Emergency initiative, along with more than 3,500 scientists and citizens, calling for policymakers to summon their "courage, wisdom and foresight when drafting their economic recovery plans to address the short and long-term health and well-being of people".