Are we seeing the beginning of a green revolution?

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, we have seen a number of encouraging signs that a green recovery is not only possible over the coming months but actually makes perfect economic and environmental sense, both in the UK and across the world.

With Britain’s top business leaders calling on Boris Johnson to set out economic recovery plans that align with the UK’s climate goals, the European Union unveiling a huge ‘green’ stimulus package that will ultimately be worth almost €2tn and the US heading towards a presidential election that could potentially see a major shift in energy strategy, early signs are definitely showing that governments across the globe are focused on rebuilding clean, resilient and sustainable economies.

Investing in our global future

The case for rebuilding our economies in line with environmental targets has broad public support. A recent poll from Ipsos Mori shows that 71% of the global population understands that climate change is as at least as serious a crisis as Covid-19, and 65% think the former should be prioritised in the economic recovery. This is not only in industrialised countries that can more easily afford to green their economies; 81% of the citizens in India and 80% of people from Mexico were also strongly in favour of a green and healthy economic recovery.

Gareth Williams, Managing Director of Caplor Energy welcomes these proposals, saying:

“Investment in climate positive actions not only helps us reduce carbon, which we simply and urgently have to do, but it also makes positive economic sense in virtually all cases for those investing.  Therefore, we are helping to stimulate our economies, reduce costs and reduce carbon all at the same time”

This is the moment to raise voices everywhere and remind leaders of their chief responsibility: protecting their citizens and putting human wellbeing at the centre of the decision-making process. Some of this is already happening. Organisations representing more than 40 million health professionals from 90 countries worldwide have just published an open letter to G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers in support of a “healthy recovery” where carbon emissions would be massively reduced.

Stimulating a green economic recovery

One of the main priorities for politicians as they navigate through the current crisis is job creation, which renewable energy clearly has the potential to provide, with investment in new technologies and infrastructure such as wind turbines, solar farms, electric vehicle production and charging points, renewable heating and upgraded transport systems to name a few. In a recent letter to the Prime Minister, almost 200 Chief Executives from the UK’s largest organisations including HSBC, National Grid and Heathrow airport called on the government to

“…deliver a clean, just recovery that helps to build a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient UK economy for the future. Efforts to rescue and repair the economy in response to the current crisis can and should be aligned with the UK’s legislated target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

The letter calls on the government to focus on sustainable investments, and highlights 3 key measures*:

  1. A combination of targeted public investment and policy signals to support growing private sector investment in low-carbon technologies.
  2. Prioritise sectors within the economy that can stimulate jobs, spur the economy and help to lower emissions.
  3. Set out stimulus packages that include measures to align business support with the government’s climate goals.

‘* read the full article here

Crises are a moment of rupture and change. In the midst of the pandemic, we face a choice between recovering the carbon-intensive global economy that has set us on the path towards environmental breakdown, or accelerating the transition towards a future that prioritises the health of people and planet. Today, that future may be closer within our reach than it was at the beginning of 2020.