Business India ×
 Climate Change

Government and Policy
Published on: April 23, 2020, 2:23 p.m.
"Economic crises are followed by recovery with higher emission growth"
  • No time for complacency. Source: Flickr

By Business India Editorial

Whilst COVID-19 has caused severe international health and economic crises, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries,” said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day celebrated on 20 April. “We need to flatten both the pandemic and climate change curves,” he added.

COVID-19 may result in a temporary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but it is not a substitute for sustained climate action. And it will make it more difficult to tackle weather, climate, and water-related hazards which are becoming more acute because of climate change.

Previous economic crises have often been followed by “recovery” associated with much higher emission growth than before the crisis. Thus the agency has proposed that post COVID-19 stimulus packages should help the economy grow back 'greener'.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also proposed six climate-related actions to shape the recovery and the work ahead.

  • To spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.

  • Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.

  • Fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to a green economy and make societies and people more resilient.

  • 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.  Fossil fuel subsidies must end and polluters must start paying for their pollution.

  • Climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system, as well as all aspects of public policymaking and infrastructure.

  • We need to work together as an international community.

"These six principles constitute an important guide to recovering better together.  Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries.  On this Earth Day, please join me in demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike," said Gutteres.


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