This database aims to collect as many examples as possible where city, state, and national leaders are making COVID-19 recovery plans in ways that could also produce benefits in racial, gender, and economic equity and in climate change mitigation and resilience.
Are you aware of relevant policies or initiatives that are not yet cataloged in this database? Please submit them using this form.
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Mayors of Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, and Barcelona
14 April 2020
In a letter addressed to European institutions the four mayors call for learning lessons from the financial crisis that started in 2008. The heavy cuts that followed that crisis have weakened public services, the mayors said. It took a long time to recover and social inequality grew. “We still pay the price for this.” In the big cities in particular, the most vulnerable suffered from cutbacks.The mayors call for the “principles of solidarity and cooperation to be upheld in the fight against the corona pandemic.” They request direct access to part of the funds released by the European Commission to combat the pandemic and its consequences. “European citizens are the first to turn to cities when they are in distress,” the statement said. Reported in Het Parool. (Translated with Google Translate).
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National or Regional
USA, Lead on Climate 2020
13 May 2020
LEAD 2020, a coalition of over 300 of the USA’s largest corporations, worth a combined $11.5 trillion USD, called on Congress to infuse climate solutions in future economic recovery legislation:
The businesses behind the pledge want Congress to work toward putting Americans into clean-energy jobs, as well as foster an accelerated transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner and provide more investment in sustainable infrastructure. The business leaders also urge Congress to consider a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and setting a carbon price. Setting a market-based carbon price remains a policy sticking point in a divided quest for a solution to man-made accelerating climate change, although has been increasingly, if slowly, adopted. – Market Watch
6 May 2020
Open letter from the Committee on Climate Change, the United Kingdom’s independent climate advisory board, to leaders in the country’s government:
“In letters to the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Committee on Climate Change sets out six key principles to rebuild the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic whilst delivering a stronger, cleaner and more resilient economy. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are integral to the UK’s recovery package, the Committee says.
Immediate steps are needed to support reskilling, retraining and research; to build a climate-resilient economy; to scale up housing retrofits and build new homes that are fit for the future; to invest in low-carbon, resilient infrastructure such as improved broadband instead of new roads; to make it easy for people to work remotely, walk and cycle and to expand tree planting, peatland restoration, green spaces and green infrastructure.”
USA, Union of Concerned Scientists
5 May 2020
The UCS published a blog urging Congress to invest in environmental justice and equity in the next COVID-19 recovery plan:
“People of color. The elderly. Women and LGBTQ people. Low income families. These are some of the most vulnerable among us. As such, they must be the focus of Congressional attention…
Given the relationship between COVID-19, air pollution and communities of color, it is imperative that funds are allocated to clean up contaminated areas, which might in turn, decrease the susceptibility of communities of color to the virus.”
The Pacific Island Forum
17 April 2020
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate change crises are cross-cutting – both require a holistic and whole-of-government approach. They are crises that also require governments to reach out to civil society and the private sector as integrated innovative solutions are needed.”
“As we continue the fight against COVID-19 and as we prepare for COP 26, countries must review and strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and seek to integrate health priorities and financing into their revised NDC commitments, which are expected this year. Now is also the time for countries to develop long-term low emissions development strategies. As one global community, we must use the opportunity of COP 26 for a discussion and commitment on building back climate-smart societies and economies. Governments, businesses, families and individuals across our Blue Pacific, and indeed our great Blue Planet, are facing the most challenging of times. We must not relent nor become complacent.”
USA, Evergreen Action Plan
15 April 2020
In an open letter posted on Medium:
“America stands at a moment of crisis: of public health, of economic security, faith in institutions, and of the global climate. This is the moment for elected leaders to embrace a bold agenda that will confront these interrelated crises and build a better future. Success requires commitment to fact-based, science-driven policy, and investment in the public good.
As America grapples with the major health and economic consequences of this pandemic, federal leaders must also work with a long-range vision to rebuild the economy for future growth. Congress today and the next President in January must revitalize economic opportunity while taking action to stop the disastrous impact of impending crises.”
9 April 2020
European Green Deal must be central to a resilient recovery after Covid-19 – An open letter to the European Commission signed by 10 European Climate and Environment Ministers. The open letter encourages the European Commission to :look into elements of the Green Deal, including the European Green Deal Investment Plan, which can be pushed forward to boost green recovery and a just transition.We need to scale up investments, notably in the fields of sustainable mobility, renewable energy, building renovations, research and innovation, the recovery of biodiversity and the circular economy.”
2 April 2020
Potential COVID-19 economic stimulus measures in conservation and land management – An open letter from more than 70 conservation groups proposes a $4 billion combined federal and state economic stimulus package. This would provide jobs to 24,000 workers at its peak to undertake practical conservation activities such as weed and pest control, river restoration and bushfire recovery and resilience.
23 March 2020
From an open letter to the Canadian Federal Government signed by dozens of labor, environmental, faith, and social justice organizations:
“The federal government has the opportunity with this stimulus package to immediately and directly support workers in Alberta and across the country while also investing in what is needed to grow and support a low carbon economy, and the kind of economy that can weather storms…
Giving billions of dollars to failing oil and gas companies will not help workers and only prolongs our reliance on fossil fuels. Oil and gas companies are already heavily subsidized in Canada and the public cannot keep propping them up with tax breaks and direct support forever…We, a collection of labour organizations and health, environmental, faith and social justice organizations, representing more than 1.3 million people across Canada, are asking the Federal government, which has committed to the Just Transition Act, to put in place a recovery program with measures to hasten a just transition and protect workers as production continues to decline in the coming years.”
USA, Green Stimulus Proposal
22 March 2020
A Green Stimulus to Rebuild Our Economy – An open letter and call to action to members of Congress written by a group of climate and social policy experts in academia and civil society. Proposes “an ambitious Green Stimulus of at least $2 trillion that creates millions of family-sustaining green jobs, lifts standards of living, accelerates a just transition off fossil fuels, ensures a controlling stake for the public in all private sector bailout plans, and helps make our society and economy stronger and more resilient in the face of pandemic, recession, and climate emergency in the years ahead.”
Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force
7 May 2020
C40 mayors have united to launch the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to rebuild our cities & economies in a way that improves public health, reduces inequality and addresses the climate crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the world’s cities. It is not just a global health crisis, but a social and economic crisis, the effects of which will be felt for years to come…
It is clear that the harm caused by COVID-19 has not been equitable. We, as leaders of major cities across the globe, are clear that our ambition should not be a return to ‘normal’ – our goal is to build a better, more sustainable, more resilient and fairer society out of the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Read the full C40 statement of principles here.
Energy Transition Commission
5 May 2020
A global coalition of leaders across the energy, industry, finance, and business and civil society sectors put forth an open letter to world governments:
Today, we call on governments of the world to spend economic stimulus spending wisely and invest in the economy of the future. We come from global organisations across the energy, industry, finance and civil society sectors. Our companies and organisations have been impacted by the economic downturn. We are acutely aware of the imperative to support corporates shaken by the crisis and restart the global economy fast. We are also committed to learn the lessons from the COVID-19 crisis…
Our companies – and many others around us – have the ambition, the technologies and the skills to build a healthier, more resilient, net-zero-emissions economy, that drives sustainable economic prosperity.”
Read the full proposal here.
International Monetary Fund
28 April 2020
Speaking at a virtual summit known as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary Antonio Guterres in calling for focused efforts to promote a “green recovery” from the pandemic crisis.
“Taking measures now to fight the climate crisis is not just a ‘nice-to-have’. It is a ‘must-have’ if we are to leave a better world for our children,’ the IMF leader told the summit. – World Economic Forum
As it gears up to lend $1 trillion to governments hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is giving guidance on using the cash to tackle climate change… Money to rebuild after the public health crisis should be directed into green investments and not subsidise fossil fuels, according to IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva. – Climate Change News
“We must reaffirm our common responsibility to “recover better”, with more inclusive and sustainable models of development The current crisis is a stark reminder of humanity’s common fate and of the need for upfront investments to reduce the catastrophic downstream risks of the pandemic. It also provides a watershed moment for investment in critical public services and global public goods…
The world has agreed on a framework for action — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change — and they continue to offer a guiding light for people and planet. We must ensure that the recovery strategy out of this crisis keeps us on track towards these longer-term objectives, building a sustainable and inclusive economy.” – Open letter from UN Secretary-General António Guterres to G-20 countries, 25 March 2020
In a separate Earth Day address, Guterres emphasized the need for collective action to tackle both the coronavirus and climate crises, as reported by Thomas Reuters:
Guterres, who has made climate change his signature issue since he took over as U.N. secretary-general in January, 2017, said governments should use their fiscal firepower to drive a shift from “the grey to green” economy.
“Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth,” Guterres said.
“Public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.”
The Club of Rome
9 April 2020
In an open letter to G-20 leaders, Members of The Club of Rome address G-20 call on global leaders to center the health of people and planet in economic recovery plans.
“We call on G20 Leaders, Heads of State and Finance Ministers, to have the courage, wisdom and foresight to make their economic recovery plans targeted towards both short and long term health and well-being for people. In doing so, such leadership will help secure a path towards greater resilience, by improving global health, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, rebuilding our relationship with nature, rethinking how we use land and transforming our food systems to produce healthy food in harmony with local ecologies and socioeconomic well-being.”
Read the full call to action here.
30 March 2020
The World Bank published a blog on Thinking Ahead for a Sustainable Recovery from COVD-19, with the following advice:
“Prime among these: the decarbonization of the world creating risks but also opportunities. For instance, the tax reform component of stimulus packages could create new tax rates for fuel, energy, or carbon, and different incentives to reduce carbon emissions. The recent drop in global oil prices offers an opportunity to revisit the subsidies currently in place in many countries and redirect these resources to more efficient ways to reduce poverty or boost growth, while advancing a transition away from fossil fuels.
A wide range of investments can boost shorter-term job creation and incomes and generate long-term sustainability and growth benefits. Examples include energy efficiency for existing buildings; production of renewable energy; preservation or restoration of natural areas that provide ecosystem services and resilience to floods, drought, and hurricanes; the remediation of polluted lands; investments in water treatment and sanitation; or sustainable transport infrastructure, ranging from bike lanes to metro systems.”
International Energy Agency
14 March 2020
Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, published a call to action for governments on climate change in response to the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19
“Large-scale investment to boost the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies – such as solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture (CCUS) – should be a central part of governments’ plans because it will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions. The progress this will achieve in transforming countries’ energy infrastructure won’t be temporary – it can make a lasting difference to our future…
Governments can address [energy affordability] by pursuing policies that have already proved successful previously, such as measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, which create jobs, reduce energy bills and help the environment…
There can be good reasons for governments to make energy more affordable, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable groups. But many subsidies are inefficiently targeted, disproportionally benefiting wealthier segments of the population that use much more of the subsidised fuel. In practice, the effect of most subsidies is to encourage consumers to waste energy, adding needlessly to emissions and straining government budgets that could otherwise be prioritising education or health care.”