Hopes for post-pandemic green recovery to help climate crisis
Su Harrison in London
For the past year leaders and governments around the world have been concentrating on how to manage the coronavirus pandemic. Climate change has taken a back seat – but that looks set to change in 2021 as the ecological crisis comes back to the forefront.
Some countries including the UK, France and Germany have already outlined how they'll increase green energy, but some countries like the U.S. and China are yet to explain how they plan to move forward.
The UN has just hosted a conference discussing green recovery. CGTN spoke to Brian O'Callaghan, who's lead researcher at the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project. He explained why some countries are reluctant to part with their cash to go green.
"The idea that green spending is bad for the economy is just complete rubbish, to be honest," he said. "Academic work has demonstrated that you can spend on green initiatives that match, and in many cases, actually exceed the economic impacts of traditional, especially dirty alternatives.
"So there's a real economic impetus for this green spending even if you don't believe in climate change. It just seems to make economic sense. And there are also the various social benefits that come from green spending – and of course the environmental benefits."
The project has a database so people can see exactly how much the 50 leading economies are spending on going green.
"A lot comes down to transparency," said O'Callaghan. "Governments are doing a really good job of bringing attention to their green programs but not necessarily putting them in context with their other programs."
He explained how research has shown that only $368 billion out of $14.6 trillion of COVID-19-induced spending on rescue and recovery last year was green.
Environmentalists say more governments are using the pandemic recovery to roll back climate legislation and bail out the fossil fuel industry.