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Pandemic stimulus was not enough to address climate crisis in countries.

Pandemic stimulus was not enough to address climate crisis in countries.

Countries missed opportunity to address climate crisis with pandemic stimulus

Countries missed opportunity to address climate crisis with pandemic stimulus
The United States of America, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom were among the countries that have not included climate-related projects into their recovery plans. These countries spent less than 5 percent of their totals on these projects. Credit: Johns Hopkins University

A new Johns Hopkins University study shows that countries missed an opportunity with unprecedented pandemic stimulus spending as deadlines loomed to address climate change.


Just 6% of the $13 trillion in COVID-19-related stimul packages from 19 countries and EU was spent on projects that will likely reduce poverty. While the vast majority of recovery spending did not address this issue, None at all. Another 3% of stimulus funding went to projects that could increase emissions.

The findings were published today in Nature.

Scot Miller, an assistant professor in environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins, said that the economic recovery packages offered a chance for countries, including the United States, to envision their future economies. “The pandemic could have provided an opportunity for countries to move towards greener economies, but many governments have failed to do this.”

During economic downturns, governments tend to prioritize economic growth over protecting the climate. According to the authors, stimulus spending during recessions is a way to combine economic and climate objectives. For example, 16% of global stimulus spending was devoted to emissions-reducing activities in the wake of the 2009 recession.

The team looked at each country’s stimulus policies from 2020 to 2021. They considered the percent that was dedicated to activities that would either increase or decrease emissions.

Of the $13 trillion nations pledged for recovery efforts, just 6% targeted activities that would reduce emissions —investments in Transit infrastructure, energy efficient homes, offices, and research in renewable energy. Projects to reduce greenhouse emissions either directly or in an indirect way were less expensive than $1 trillion.

Countries missed opportunity to address climate crisis with pandemic stimulus
Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that just 6% went to projects that would reduce greenhouse gases after analyzing over $13 trillion in COVID-19 stimulus packages from 19 countries. Credit: Johns Hopkins University

“Even though this was an emergency of public health, in principle governments could intervene in the economy in such a way that changes everything, getting together and doing something really big to address the climate crisis,” said the lead author. Jonas NahmJohns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies assistant professor of energy resources, environment and energy. “But the vast majority was spent in a way that has very little to do with emissions and it was overall very disappointing.”

The team found that only 27% of green stimulus measures would directly reduce unemployment. . The remaining 72% would have only an indirect effect, such as funding in Germany to support the construction of electric car charging stations or subsidies for biofuel producers from Brazil.

The countries that gave the most South Korea and the European Union have committed more than 30% of their budgets to green projects. Brazil, Germany, Italy and Italy invested more that 20% in green projects as part of their recovery spending while France spent just a little over 10%.

The United States, Japan and Russia were the only countries that didn’t include climate-related projects as part of their recovery plans. They spent less than 5%.

The authors stated that the trillions of dollars spent worldwide, mainly on unconditional checks to individuals and businesses, could have covered necessary investments in technology and infrastructure to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. They also created jobs and helped with economic recovery. Many countries have established interim emission goals for 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement.

Miller stated, “If there was ever a chance to tie economic recovery to these climate goals that draw closer by the day,” Miller said. When devising economic recovery measures, it is important to not forget climate and greenhouse gas emission goals in the months and years ahead. We can’t wait for the pandemic to end before we start thinking about climate change.

Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Professor in Energy, Resources and Environment, Johns Hopkins, was one among the authors.

See Also
Community Discussion on Climate Change


UN: World fails to follow green Covid recovery path


Citation:
The opportunity was missed by countries to address climate crisis through pandemic stimulus (2022 March 2)
Retrieved 2 March 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-03-countries-opportunity-climate-crisis-pandemic.html

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