Government efforts to help economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic could also tackle inequality and climate change through investment in energy-smart buildings, electric vehicles and other green measures, officials and economists said on Monday. As 30 nations joined a two-day virtual climate dialogue, co-chaired by Germany and Britain, policy makers stressed that spending to head off a global depression due to COVID-19 shutdowns should not restart growth built on planet-heating fossil fuels. The German government said the Petersberg Climate Dialogue would focus on how to organise a green economic recovery after the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic. The dialogue would also look at how countries could push forward with climate change action despite the postponement of the COP26 U.N. conference until 2021, German officials said.
Reuters 27th April 2020 read more »
After the Covid-19 pandemic we can do better than simply return to business as usual. We now know just how exposed our way of life is to major shocks that arise from our mismanagement of the natural world. If we are to avert even more troubling threats in the future, things need to change – and profoundly. The coronavirus crisis comes on top of an even greater climate and environmental crisis. These crises are, of course, deeply connected. The World Health Organization has warned that this won’t be the last or the worst pandemic. Seventy-five per cent of all emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife, and more deadly pathogens exist in nature. We can rebuild and power our economy with cleaner energy, taking advantage of zero interest rates to scale up zero carbon power. Big investment to unleash the deployment of clean technologies – such as renewables, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture – can simultaneously accelerate healthier forms of energy, generating 65 million new jobs and $26 trillion in financial benefits worldwide by 2030. We can make our cities safer, putting in place infrastructure that allows us to move away from dirty, polluting vehicles that claim eight million lives prematurely. We can improve the quality of our homes: the average London building, for example, is 38 per cent energy efficient, wasting nearly two-thirds of the energy bought for it. Imagine the potential to lower people’s utility bills, ensure the elderly have warm homes in winter – and create six million decent jobs globally – by investing in buildings’ efficiency retrofits.
Telegraph 27th April 2020 read more »
Even with the global economy at a near-standstill, the best analysis suggests that the world is still on track to release 95 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted in a typical year, continuing to heat up the planet and driving climate change even as we’re stuck at home. A 5.5-percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions would still be the largest yearly change on record, beating out the financial crisis of 2008 and World War II. But it’s worth wondering: Where do all of those emissions come from? And if stopping most travel and transport isn’t enough to slow down climate change, what will be? So where are all those emissions coming from? For one thing, utilities are still generating roughly the same amount of electricity — even if more of it’s going to houses instead of workplaces. Electricity and heating combined account for over 40 percent of global emissions. Many people around the world rely on wood, coal, and natural gas to keep their homes warm and cook their food — and in most places, electricity isn’t so green either. 2020 is already on track to be the warmest ever recorded, beating out 2016. In a sad irony, the decrease in air pollution may make it even hotter. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, explained that many polluting particles have a “masking” effect on global warming, reflecting the sun’s rays, canceling out some of the warming from greenhouse gas emissions. With that shield of pollution gone, Ramanathan said, “We could see an increase in warming.” Appreciate the bluer skies and fresher air, while you can. But the emissions drop from the pandemic should be a warning, not a cause for celebration: a sign of how much further there is to go.
Grist 27th April 2020 read more »
COP26 President Alok Sharma spoke on the first day of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, which is co-hosted by the UK and Germany. The challenge we face is how do we speed up progress towards a zero emission and climate-resilient global economy, whilst at the same time creating jobs and supporting communities through the transition? And, of course, that it is particularly important now as a result of where the global economy finds itself in the COVID-19 situation. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to decarbonise the global economy about three to five times faster over the next decade than we did over the last two decades.
BEIS 27th April 2020 read more »