What’s the matter: Greenhouse gas emissions fell sharply with COVID-19 lockdowns, but as governments ease restrictions, emissions are rebounding faster than expected. It begs the question: if a global pandemic can’t meaningfully cut emissions, what can?
By the numbers
- Of the nearly $12 trillion committed by the world’s 50 largest economies to the coronavirus recovery, “only about $18 billion has been targeted at post-carbon economic priorities such as developing renewable energy or incentivizing clean industry.”
- To achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold targeted by the Paris Agreement in 2015, we would need to cut emissions by at least 7% every year indefinitely
Next Steps: As we wrote about earlier this month, Europe has proposed an $826 billion green COVID-19 recovery plan. But the rest of the developed world, especially America, is still thinking brown. COVID-19 makes it clear that individual action will not be enough to fix the climate crisis. We need major structural changes at the governmental (and multinational) level to move forward.
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