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Green COVID-19 recovery packages can boost economic growth and tackle climate change

last modified May 06, 2020 03:24 PM

Researchers find long-term, climate-friendly stimulus policies are often superior in overall economic impact – not just in slowing global warming.

An analysis of possible COVID-19 economic recovery packages shows the potential for strong alignment between the economy and the environment. The direction of these measures over the next six months will largely determine whether the worst impacts of global warming can be avoided, and research published today reveals that climate-friendly policies can deliver a better result for the economy – and the environment.

Drawing on a global survey of senior central bank and finance ministry officials, as well as learnings from the 2008 financial crisis, economists found that green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spent and lead to increased long-term cost savings, by comparison with traditional fiscal stimulus. A team of internationally-recognised experts came together to assess the economic and climate impact of taking a green route out of the crisis. They catalogued more than 700 stimulus policies into 25 broad groups, and conducted a global survey of 231 experts from 53 countries, including from finance ministries and central banks.

In addition, the COP26 Universities Network has drawn on this research and other analyses to create a briefing for policymakers outlining a path to net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19. The network, a growing group of more than 30 UK-based universities, including the University of Cambridge, was formed to help deliver climate change outcomes at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow and beyond. 


As ever, good can be extracted from even the darkest hour, but it requires clear thinking, imagination and bold leadership."

Emily Shuckburgh (Cambridge Zero, University of Cambridge) 

Click here for the full University of Cambridge article.

Click here for the briefing - "A net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19. COP26 Universities Network Briefing"(2020)

Click here for the study - “Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?" Oxford Review of Economic Policy 36 (S1).  


Image credit: Vlad Tchompalov, Unsplash.