Green economic stimulus packages can bend the post COVID-19 emissions curve
Conversely, if governments don’t roll out low carbon development strategies and policies – or roll back existing climate policies – in response to the coming economic crisis, emissions could rebound and even overshoot previously projected levels by 2030, despite lower economic growth in the period to 2030.
In a briefing for governments attending the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on 27-28 April, the CAT modelled two post COVID-19 economic pathways, combined them with five possible stimulus response scenarios, and calculated the resulting emissions trajectories.
“Our results show that green economic stimulus packages would have a fundamental effect on reducing emissions in 2030,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, “but in the worst-case scenario, which involves the kind of fossil fuel rebound we saw after the 2008 global financial crisis, economic stimulus will be obtained at the expense of already-achieved climate policies.”
Economic impact from COVID-19 pandemic
The CAT also calculates that the economic damage caused by the pandemic looks likely to cause global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry to fall in 2020 in the range of 4-11% and possibly again in 2021 by 1% above to 9% below 2019 levels.
For the analysis, the CAT modelled two economic pathways: an “optimistic recovery” where economic growth rates eventually return to those projected before COVID-19, and a “pessimistic recovery” where growth rates take much longer to recover and don’t return to those levels.
It then combined these with five COVID-19 response scenarios: fossil fuel rebound, post-COVID-19 current policies, weak green stimulus, moderate green stimulus and strong green stimulus.
“The economic consequences of COVID-19 alone will do little to bend the emissions curve downwards: they would mainly delay an increase,” said Prof Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.
Choices on stimulus measures
“Governments now have the option of developing green economic stimulus packages that focus on low-carbon energy system development and infrastructure, and energy efficiency that result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with major health and other benefits, including economic and employment.”
The report also sets out detailed sector-level solutions with promising examples of what a green stimulus package could look like, but also identifying examples of actions to avoid.
“If governments divert resources tagged for climate change to address the pandemic, economic recovery from COVID-19 will only plunge the world further into the climate crisis,” he warned.
“This report shows that the future is for governments to choose,” said Bill Hare.
“COVID-19 recovery presents both opportunities and threats to enhancing our resilience to climate change. The promotion of employment-generating building and infrastructure projects as a key pillar of COVID-19 recovery planning provides a chance to rethink our critical infrastructure, raise standards and develop innovation solutions. However, this requires bold action and bold thinking,” said Hare.
Unless affirmative and positive action is taken by Governments to ensure that the stimulus and response measures they put in place focus on low-and zero carbon development there is a risk of a winding back of policies and hence emissions being even higher in 2030 than would otherwise have been the case.
You can read more and download the full briefing on the Climate Action Tracker website.
All greenhouse gas emissions could peak in 2023
A new report finds maintaining current solar, wind and electric vehicle growth rates could lead to peak emissions in 2023.
Oil and gas majors could have paid for their share of climate loss and damage and still earned 10 trillion USD: new report
Global climate damages from emissions associated with the top 25 oil and gas ‘carbon majors’ between 1985 and 2018 are estimated at 20 trillion USD compared to the 30 trillion USD they earned over the same period, according to a new report released today by international think tank Climate Analytics.
A 1.5˚C pathway for the Philippines power sector entirely feasible: analysis
With the right international funding and policies in place, the Philippines could transition its’ power sector to near-100% renewable energy without compromising on the costs of electricity, reducing its reliance on expensive imports of both coal and gas, and creating up to a million jobs by 2050.
State of Climate Action report finds progress lags on every measure except EV sales
Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.
Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows
The Production Gap Report finds governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.
Beetaloo fracking and Middle Arm emissions wildly underestimated: analysis
An independent analysis of the projected emissions from the Northern Territory's proposed Beetaloo Basin gas fracking project — and the associated Middle Arm LNG precinct in Darwin Harbour — has found they've been gravely underestimated, as have the availability of offsets to deal with them.
Remembering Saleemul Huq
We pay tribute to the highly revered climate expert and advocate Saleemul Huq, who passed away suddenly this Saturday.
Comic artists respond to the climate crisis
Three leading comic creators have collaborated with the Horizon Europe project, CONSTRAIN, to develop comics exploring the climate change challenge.
Changes to the jet stream could trigger simultaneous crop failures impacting global food security
This new study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.
At least 1.5 TW of new wind and solar capacity needed each year by 2030 to meet 1.5°C limit sustainably
Our new analysis, which applies sustainability limits and minimises the need for carbon dioxide removal, finds new wind and solar needs to be installed five times faster by 2030 at a rate of 1.5 TW a year to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Limiting warming using solar geoengineering is a 100 year plus commitment, new study
New peer reviewed research shows that if solar radiation management – where higher amounts of sunlight are reflected back to space through artificially altering either the Earth’s surface or the atmosphere – is deployed to limit warming to 1.5°C without emissions cuts beyond those currently envisioned by governments, it would have to be maintained for at least a hundred years.