“Climate action does not require economic sacrifice,” wrote Rachel Kyte, then CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforAll) in September 2015.
Many studies and cases show that climate action does indeed yield economic benefits (see the case of China). Going even a step further: if climate change proceeds unchecked, its negative impacts will effect the world’s economies at large. So in reality, without climate action there won’t be much of any long-term economic activity anymore. To stay below the 1.5°C threshold agreed in the Paris Agreement means we need to drastically cut emissions. The recovery packages stipulated in the course of overcoming the impacts of the corona crisis can be an opportunity to channel needed investments into sustainable, green sectors and build back better.
Survive and Thrive!
The voices calling for a swift recovery and build back better from COVID are vast and from across the political spectrum. Yet, they often remain surprisingly vague on what “building back better” – or its variants stronger or greener – include.
On the supply side, we need to significantly scale up renewable energy deployment. In recent years, governments, local authorities and businesses have taken up 100% RE targets. Their commitment emphasizes that a 100% RE future is not just possible, but also economically feasible. In fact, green energy has been more resilient against COVID-19 impacts than fossil fuels. They have experienced less supply chain disruptions than fossil fuels. Further, the wind and solar industries can create more jobs than their fossil counterparts. While the 100% RE vision has somewhat become mainstream in the renewable energy bubble, the importance of reducing demand for energy is still often overlooked.