Ensuring measures to boost economies after the pandemic are “green” will create more jobs and better financial returns, as well as tackle climate change, experts have said.
In the UK, investment in renewables projects, fitting homes and buildings with extra insulation, improving broadband and encouraging electric cars and ebikes could all help kick-start the economy and cut emissions.
It has been estimated the pandemic will lead to an 8% drop in emissions in 2020, in the face of industry shutdowns, recession and huge reductions in road and air travel.
But the world needs to see annual cuts of 7.6% in the next decade to curb global warming below dangerous levels.
The world could leap “from the Covid frying pan into the climate fire”, unless governments intervene to shift economies to clean pathways as they recover, a study warned.
For the study, a team including Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and leading British climate economist Lord Stern assessed the economic and climate impact of taking a green route out of the pandemic.
The assessment, which is being published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, surveyed officials in 53 countries on their recovery measures and drew on lessons from the 2008 financial crisis.
It found green projects – ones that reduce emissions – also create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns for the money spent and lead to increased long-term savings compared to traditional fiscal stimulus.