Noting that the world has a second and possibly last chance to tackle climate change and other environmental threats, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has asked the countries not to ignore economic lessons of the Great Recession.
*Rebuilding a greener world economy after the COVID-19 pandemic requires learning from what worked and what did not from past efforts to adopt green stimulus during the 2008-09 recession,” said UNEP report “Building a Greener Recovery: Lessons from the Great Recession”.
The report authored by Barbier (Colorado State University Professor) draws on lessons from the Great Recession and calls on governments to develop concrete strategies to combat environmental decline as they rebuild their economies from COVID-19.
The report has asked the governments to commit to a five to 10 year strategy of public investment and legislative reforms, including implementing levies that would make it more expensive to pollute. This will help a transformation towards a green economic order and encourage sustained financial recovery.
The UNEP recommended replacing fossil fuel subsidies with investments in clean energy. Apart from this, the report also called for expanding access to renewable energy in rural areas. It demanded reallocating irrigation subsidies to improve water supply, sanitation and wastewater infrastructure. They have also asked to implement a tropical carbon tax to fund ecological restoration and reforestation.
The UNEP report says that the global health and economic crisis created by Covid pandemic is creating a growing financial burden on all governments. Developing countries will need to find cost effective and innovative policy mechanisms to achieve sustainability and development aims.
It also pointed out that the immediate economic priorities should be to relieve human suffering caused by the disease, protect incomes and livelihoods, and shore up businesses and industries hardest hit by the recession. However, the UNEP added that managing the long recovery was also critically important.