COVID-19 Integrated Recovery Plans That Multisolve For Economic Recovery, Equity, and Climate
This webpage 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. It is being maintained by the multisolving team at Climate Interactive, including Dr. Elizabeth Sawin and Cassandra Ceballos.
If you know of other examples that should be included in this list, please contact Cassandra Ceballos here.
Table of Contents
Section 1. Plans That Have Been Adopted
City – Adopted
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
12 May 2020
“During a Boston City Council hearing Tuesday night, Boston’s top transportation planner said the city is preparing to expand sidewalks into driving lanes in certain places “later this month” in order to make more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
“It’s something that the mayor has asked us to start implementing as soon as possible,” Vineet Gupta, the director of planning for the city transportation department, said during the teleconference hearing.” – Boston Globe
Additionally, officials in the Boston suburb of Brookline “have approved a plan to close motor vehicle lanes on four major streets in order to give people adequate space for social distancing while walking to essential jobs and services in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” as reported on April 8th by Street Blog Mass
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
9 May 2020
The Charlotte Department of Transportation adopted a new “Shared Streets” initiative:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is changing many aspects of how we live, move about our cities, and get essential physical activity. The City of Charlotte is launching Charlotte Shared Streets to support social distancing and pedestrian/bicycle safety amidst this new way of life. Shared Streets is intended to support outdoor exercise; create a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading…”
Read more about the program on the City of Charlotte website.
Greenville, South Carolina, USA
8 May 2020
The city of Greenville close parts of Main Street to traffic, as reported by Greenville News:
In an effort to create more space downtown, the city will close Main Street from East North Street to McBee Avenue in the morning, but allowing traffic to flow across Main Street on East North, Washington and McBee…
Parking spaces along the west side of Main Street from the Peace Center to Starbucks will be blocked off to allow for more pedestrian space.”
Seattle, Washington, USA
7 May 2020
Seattle’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic included temporarily closing 20 miles of streets to allow pedestrians and cyclists more room to move around. Those street closures are now set to become permanent, according to the Office of the Mayor:
‘Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets will become permanent and the construction of bike infrastructure will be accelerated in 2020…
“We are in a marathon and not a sprint in our fight against COVID-19. As we assess how to make the changes that have kept us safe and healthy sustainable for the long term, we must ensure Seattle is rebuilding better than before. Safe and Healthy Streets are an important tool for families in our neighborhoods to get outside, get some exercise and enjoy the nice weather. Over the long term, these streets will become treasured assets in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Durkan…
“Just like we must each adapt to a new normal going forward, so, too, must our city and the ways in which we get around. That is why we’re announcing a nimble, creative approach towards rapidly investing in a network of places for people walking and people biking of all ages and abilities and thinking differently about our traffic signals that make pedestrians a greater priority. Despite the many challenges we face, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Department of Transportation Director.’
Read the full statement here.
29 April 2020
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo plans to expand a pre-pandemic initiative to decrease the use of cars within the city. While the rate of driving in Paris has steadily decreased for the last thirty years, Hidalgo sees an opportunity to emphasize recovery plans that further transition the city towards alternative modes of transportation.
“I say in all firmness that it is out of the question that we allow ourselves to be invaded by cars, and by pollution,” she said. “It will make the health crisis worse. Pollution is already in itself a health crisis and a danger — and pollution joined up with coronavirus is a particularly dangerous cocktail. So it’s out of the question to think that arriving in the heart of the city by car is any sort of solution, when it could actually aggravate the situation.” – Anne Hidalgo as quoted by City Lab
France’s lockdown will be eased from May 11, but the closure of Rue de Rivoli to cars is planned to last throughout the summer, and could then be made permanent. The street is the Parisian equivalent of London’s Oxford Street or New York City’s Fifth Avenue. – Forbes
28 April 2020
Remigijus Šimašius, mayor of Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius, announced vehicle restrictions in 18 public spaces in order to allow restaurants and cafes to expand their outdoor seating. The number of public spaces reserved for open air dining will grow throughout the summer. So far more than 160 restaurant owners have applied for the opportunity to expand their outdoor seating space.
“Plazas, squares, streets – nearby cafes will be allowed to set up outdoor tables free of charge this season and thus conduct their activities during quarantine,” said Remigijus Šimašius. Public safety remained the city’s top priority, the mayor said, but the measure should help cafes to “open up, work, retain jobs and keep Vilnius alive”. – The Guardian
Oakland, California, USA
10 April 2020
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf passed an emergency measure, “Oakland Slow Streets,” to temporarily banish cars from 74 miles of residential streets.
“Because of the reduction in car traffic we will be closing off a number of streets, so that bicyclists and pedestrians can spread out and exercise and take in fresh air safely,” Schaaf said during a virtual town hall Thursday evening. – San Francisco Chronicle
The change is mostly a firm psychological nudge, said Warren Logan, the director of mobility policy and interagency relations in the Oakland mayor’s office. Confronted by a pair of traffic signs and a barricade blocking one lane, drivers now have to think twice about entering these streets. Many will consider taking a different route. And all will hopefully drive more mindfully when they enter a slow-streets zone. – City Lab
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Embracing the “Doughnut Model” to balance economics, needs of people and the needs of nature in the COVID-19 recovery.
“The city of Amsterdam this week officially decided to embrace what has come to be known as “The Doughnut Model,” a framework for sustainable development created by Oxford University economist Kate Raworth. In adopting this model, which attempts to balance the needs of people without harming the environment, the city hopes to emerge from the cloud of Covid-19 elbows out, with new purpose.” MSN News 9 April 2020
“…the model will be formally embraced by the municipality of Amsterdam as the starting point for public policy decisions, the first city in the world to make such a commitment.” The Guardian 8 April 2020
State/Province – Adopted
12 May 2020
Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order No.7MM to expedite the process of restaurants getting approval to expand outdoor dining into public space:
“Gov. Ned Lamont has removed red tape for restaurateurs and retailers looking to pivot to expanded outdoor sales as the state’s economy gradually reopens May 20 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The governor signed an executive order Tuesday… that empowers towns and cities to expedite zoning changes or ordinances for small businesses seeking to bring their operations outdoors.” – Hartford Business Journal
New Jersey, USA
17 April 2020
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and Economic Development Authority (EDA) today released a strategic funding plan for investing the state’s auction proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the cap-and-trade pact among northeastern states dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generating sector. New Jersey plans to invest an estimated $80 million each year in programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive forward projects that boost clean energy and create jobs, protect the health of residents in environmental justice communities and increase the resiliency of coastal communities…
“The RGGI Strategic Funding Plan demonstrates how our state agencies collaborate to help create a brighter future for all New Jerseyans, especially our environmental justice communities,” said Governor Murphy. “As our State responds to COVID-19, we see up close the vital link between public health and economic development, the same relationship that drives our Administration’s efforts to reduce health risks from pollution and climate change through initiatives that also grow our clean energy economy. As we work to ensure that our economy recovers from this pandemic, the investments made under this Plan will promote health, equity, and environmental protection, helping us build a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”
Read the full NJ Economic Development Authority Press release here.
New York, USA
6 April 2020
The New York State government announced passage of the “Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act” in the first week of April. The legislation will “dramatically speed up the siting and construction of clean energy projects to combat climate change and help jumpstart the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis. The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act) will create a first in the nation Office of Renewable Energy Siting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York while delivering significant benefits to local communities.”
Read the full New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announcement.
National or Regional – Adopted
14 May 2020
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a $50 billion economic recovery package as part of the country’s 2020 budget:
“Overall, New Zealand’s 2020 budget was one of the most comprehensive economic packages seen around the world…
The government has also taken the opportunity to begin addressing other issues, while at the same time boosting employment. The $1.1bn for nature-based jobs is designed to help restore the environment and add 11,000 jobs. Substantial increases to healthcare funding will support work and also build resilience in an area in need of more.” – The Guardian
A separate article in The Guardian reported that, despite the environmental jobs package, “many [conservation bodies] expressed dismay at the lack of spending on climate change projects, especially as New Zealand has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.”
11 May 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new program to provide relief to corporations struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:
“The new program will provide bridge loans of up to $60 million and guarantees of up to $80 million for companies earning more than $300 million in annual revenue. Companies that receive the loans, however, have to abide by a set of rules that include restricting executive bonuses and investing in climate action.
Companies will be expected to publish annual reports on climate investments, detailing how they plan to reduce their environmental footprints, and how their operations support the country’s commitments made under the Paris climate agreement.” – Global Citizen
Read the official announcement here.
9 May 2020
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launched a £2 billion [$2.5 billion USD] plan to improve and expand pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the country:
“Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million [$308.5 million USD] emergency active travel fund – the first stage of a £2 billion [$2.5 billion USD] investment, as part of the £5 billion [$6.17 billion USD] in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.
Following unprecedented levels of walking and cycling across the UK during the pandemic, the plans will help encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport when they need to travel, making healthier habits easier and helping make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond to future increases in demand.”
Read the full story on the UK government’s official website here.
5 May 2020
“The Icelandic Government has revealed several new environmental policies and proposals recently, including fresh funds for projects tackling climate change and a bid to ban certain single-use products. Although the measures are by no means radical, they suggest that environmental concerns may be a greater government priority post-pandemic.
The government awarded grants totalling 550 million ISK to projects addressing climate change as part of its second COVID-19 economic stimulus package. Further details about the allocation of these funds were released on May 5th. The investment will be used to increase carbon sequestration, accelerate switches to sustainable energy sources and fund further climate research…
Around 200 million ISK will be invested into projects aiming to naturally store carbon dioxide long-term in order to reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
A further 300 million ISK will be used to reduce Iceland’s energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels. Two-thirds of the funds will go towards port electrification. Around 40 million ISK will be used to research domestic fuel production and switching vehicles to sustainable energy sources.” – The Reykjavik Grapevine
30 April 2020
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, launched a 10 Billion Tree campaign in 2018. While the project was halted in March of 2020 as Pakistan responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan recently approved a “Green Stimulus Package” that will restart the program and employ people laid off due to the lockdown to plant the trees.
This year the programme is employing triple the number of workers it did in its first year, said Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to the prime minister. Many of the new jobs are being created in rural areas, he said, with a focus on hiring women and unemployed daily workers – mainly young people – who were migrating home from locked-down cities. – Thomas Reuters
The Green Stimulus package… aims to promote plantation by setting up nurseries and natural forests and promotion of honey, fruit and olive plantation in the country. Under the package, ‘Green Nigehabaan’ initiative will also be launched to provide job opportunities to initially 65,000 youth, making them part of the plantation campaign. – Daily Times Pakistan
29 April 2020
Air France has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis. On April 24th, the French government offered the airline a 7 billion euro ($7.6 billion) package composed of state-guaranteed bank loans and loans directly from the state.
According to reporting by Reuters, “Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the lower house of parliament’s economics committee that the airline would have to cut its carbon emissions by half per passenger and per kilometre by 2030, from 2005 levels. For flights specifically in mainland France, emissions would have to be halved by 2024, which Le Maire said meant that domestic flights would be “drastically reduced” to focus on serving hubs for transfers. In a further condition, 2% of the fuel used by its planes would have to be derived from alternative, sustainable sources by 2025.”
The International Railway Journal also reported that Le Maire told the members of the economic committee that “The plane should no longer be a means of transporting [people] in one hour or one hour 15 minutes which could be done at lower cost of CO2 by train in two hours or two hours 30. This must be the rule and we will enforce it.”
Scotland, United Kingdom
28 April 2020
Scotland adopted the new “Spaces for People” initiative to expand walking and cycling infrastructure in response to a 75% decrease in car use.
“The Scottish Government has announced £10 million of funding for local authorities to provide “pop-up walking and cycling routes” to ensure pedestrians and peddlers have more space to get about amid social distancing restrictions.
Concerns have been raised over some people struggling to maintain social distancing – amid a 35% increase in cycling as the lockdown continues.With social distancing set to be part of life in Scotland for some time, pedestrians and cyclists will be given more space on roads to ensure the public can safely move around.” – Herald Scotland
16 April 2020
South Korea’s Democratic party has won a landslide victory in elections that took place yesterday, achieving a strong mandate for a European-style Green New Deal, making it the nation first in east Asia to enact a pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050. – Forbes
The Democratic Party’s decisive victory will enable President Moon to press ahead with its newly adopted Green New Deal agenda during the last two years of his mandate. Under the plan, South Korea has become the first country in East Asia to pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050… The plan includes large-scale investments in renewable energy, the introduction of a carbon tax, the phase out of domestic and overseas coal financing by public institutions, and the creation of a Regional Energy Transition Centre to support workers transition to green jobs. – Climate Change News
Despite pressing forward with the Green New Deal plan in April of 2020, the South Korean government supported a $2 billion dollar bailout of the country’s largest coal plant manufacturer, as reported by Climate Change News.
Section 2. Plans Under Discussion or Review
City – Under Discussion or Review
Burlington, Vermont, USA
The Burlington Electric Department, a municipal utility, is putting forward Net Zero Energy programs for regulatory approval in what it calls a green stimulus. Elements include:
- Cold-climate heat pump incentives
- Electric Vehicle incentives
- Cash for Inefficient Residential Appliances
- Zero-interest loans with on-bill financing of energy efficiency projects
- Failed heating and cooling systems replacement
See more details on the Burlington Electric Department website.
State/Province – Under Discussion or Review
17 April 2020
“This pandemic has forced millions of Californians out of jobs – with the most vulnerable hit the hardest,” said Governor Newsom. “While we have made significant progress in flattening the curve and increased preparedness of our health care delivery system, the actions taken have also impacted the economy, poverty and overall health care in California.”There will be significant emphasis of the state’s strengths, including diversity and innovation. The Task Force will not only focus on our immediate recovery, but on actions to support a cleaner, more equitable and prosperous future for all Californians. –Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
National or Regional – Under Discussion or Review
5 May 2020
The Chinese Politburo Standing Committee in a meeting on COVID-19 control measures in March 2020, suggested that the route to economic recovery would include accelerated investment in ‘new infrastructure’ projects.
According to an article in the East Asia Forum, new infrastructure is thought to include “5G networks, data centres, artificial intelligence, the industrial Internet of Things, ultra-high voltage (UHV) power transmission, high-speed rail and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”
The article goes on to say that “the total investment anticipated for these seven fields is US $1.4 trillion for the six-year period from 2020–25, easily allowing for a low-carbon stimulus package comparable in size to the one following the GFC [the global financial crisis of 2008]. The suggested ‘accelerated investment’ means that these investments could be brought forward as part of a stimulus package to achieve the policy goals for these seven fields by 2025. But the suggestion to accelerate the investment has not been backed up by central government spending yet, possibly because Beijing’s coffers are not nearly as full as they were when the GFC hit. Much of the investment will have to come from provincial level governments and by encouraging lending.”
12 April 2020
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, quoted in Tribune de Geneve. “However, the country will need impetus to revive the economy. And these impulses will come. “We are going to invest a lot of money in the maintenance of the railways,” explains the federal councilor. “We are talking about billions. We also want to promote renewable energies and the renovation of buildings, which will guarantee orders and jobs for the industry. (Translated with Google Translate).
6 April 2020
According to an article in Bloomberg Green, “Germany’s green energy shift may get a financial shot in the arm when the impact of the coronavirus ebbs, according to a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. When the virus’ acute phase is over, the government plans a stimulus package that advances the nation technologically and helps the economy’s move toward climate neutrality, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe. Such a package “makes sense,” said the Social Democrat without adding details.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe will need an ambitious recovery programme after the coronavirus crisis, signalling that Germany is ready to “do its share” to achieve an internationally-coordinated economic revival once the “hardest part” of the crisis is over. “At the same time, we need to do the right thing regarding climate action, which has not disappeared as an issue,” Merkel assured. (Climate Energy Wire 8 April 2020)
Section 3. Open Letters and Calls to Action
City- Open Letters
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).
State/Province – Open Letters
Check back later
National or Regional – Open Letters
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 – Open Letters
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.”
Section 4. Academic Studies and Other Trackers
Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?
Working Paper from Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
The authors of this paper surveyed more than 200 central bankers, finance ministers, and other experts about a range of possible financial stimulus investments. Based on the expert input they identified five types of investments with both high potential to support economic recovery and the ability to reduce climate change:
– clean physical infrastructure,
– building efficiency retrofits,
– investment in education and training,
– natural capital investment, and
– clean R&D.
The authors also asked the respondents, many of whom will be shaping COVID-19 response plans in their countries, about the attractiveness of various policies and investments. The paper reports that “many climate-positive policies were perceived by our respondents to have high overall desirability; most climate-negative policies had relatively low desirability. This was true even for climate-positive policies that took more time to implement.”
Check back later