COVID-19 Green Economic Recovery?

COVID-19 Green Economic Recovery?

The European Commission last week announced its green recovery plan from COVID-19 pledging that the economic recovery from the virus would ‘do not harm’ to the long-term climate change goals. This has set down a real marker for the rest of the world in terms of commitment to a Green COVID-19 recovery.

The new green recovery plan will include a £196Bn a year for sectors tackling emissions

Including 91bn for home efficiency and green heating, 25bn a year for renewable energy, 10bn a year for 2 years for clean cars with a goal of getting 2m charging points and 60bn which will go to zero emissions trains.

Frans Timmermans, the European commission vice-president who oversees the European Green Deal, said “For many regions and companies including those relying on coal production and carbon-intensive industrial processes, this economic crisis has raised an existential question, Do we rebuild what we have before, or do we seize the opportunity to restructure and create different and new jobs?”

“In all the actions we are going to take, we apply the ‘do no harm’ principle so you can’t have investment that takes us in a different direction.” 

In the backdrop of this EU decision the COP 26 being hosted in Glasgow was officially postponed till 2021 with the agenda for next year likely to be dominated with a green recovery from COVID-19.

This year’s COP26 was seen as important as it would be when all nations would be obliged to renew their 5-year commitments made in the Paris Agreement 2015 and was first time this would be possible since the IPCC 1.5 degrees report, widely seen as real wake up call to the world on climate change. It’s thought the current commitments set out in the Paris agreement would set the world on 3 degrees rise, which the IPCC say would spell disaster around the world.

Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN Development Programme, said: “The UK presidency comes at an absolutely critical time. There is an extraordinary opportunity to restart the economy and look at creative ways [to recover]. We need to find ways to become more resilient.”

A spokesperson for the UK government said: “As hosts of Cop26 and the first major economy to legislate for net zero, the UK is committed to delivering a clean and resilient economic recovery from Covid-19.

“The great global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss have not gone away and it will be the duty of every responsible government to see our economies are revived and rebuilt in a way that stands the test of time. That’s why we’re calling on all nations to come forward with more ambitious climate plans.”

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