One of the world's leading energy experts has warned that the world has only six months to turn the tide of the climate crisis and avoid a post-COVID-19 pandemic spike in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts. to avoid a climate catastrophe.
"This year will be the last time we have a chance, if we don't see a carbon recovery," said Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The Guardian reported that governments plan to spend US $ 9 trillion globally in the coming months to rescue their economies from the coronavirus crisis, as calculated by the IEA.
The stimulus packages created this year will determine the shape of the global economy for the next three years, according to Dr. Birol, and within that time emissions must begin to drop sharply and permanently, or climate targets will be out of reach.
“The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Dr. Birol said, adding: “If we don't take action, we will surely see a spike in emissions. If emissions recover, it is very difficult to see how they will be reduced in the future.
"That is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages," he said.
Carbon dioxide emissions plummeted by a global average of 17 percent in April, compared to last year, but have since climbed back to about five percent of last year's levels.
In a report, the IEA, the world's leading energy analysis agency, established the first global plan for a green recovery, focusing on reforms to power generation and consumption.
Wind and solar power should be a main focus, according to the report, along with energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industries, and the modernization of power grids.
Job creation must be the priority for countries where millions of people have been forced to become unemployed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
The IEA's analysis shows that focusing on green jobs, such as modernizing buildings to make them more energy efficient, installing solar panels, and building wind farms, was more effective than investing money in the high-carbon economy.
Sam Fankhauser, executive director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, who was not involved in the report, said: “Construction efficiency ticks all the boxes, shovel-ready, job-intensive, a high economic multiplier, and it is absolutely key to zero carbon, as it is a difficult sector to deal with and has great social benefits, in the form of lower fuel bills.
He cautioned that governments should not try to "preserve existing formaldehyde jobs" through licensing schemes and other efforts to keep people in employment, but rather provide training and other opportunities for people "to move into jobs in the workplace. future".
Calls for a global green recovery have now come from experts, economists, health professionals, educators, climate activists and politicians.
While some governments are ready to take action, for example the EU has pledged to make its European Green Deal the centerpiece of its recovery, the money spent so far has tended to prop up the high-carbon economy.
According to analyst firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance, more than half a trillion dollars worldwide will go to high-carbon industries, with no strings attached to ensure they reduce their carbon production.
In the early spending brackets, governments "had an excuse" for not funneling money to carbon reduction industries, Dr. Birol said, because they were reacting to a sudden and unexpected crisis.
"The first recovery plans were more aimed at creating firewalls in the economy," explained the head of AIE
However, governments were still targeting high carbon investment, warned Dr Birol who noted that IEA research showing that by the end of May the amount invested in coal-fired power plants in Asia had accelerated by comparison. with last year. "There are already signs of a rebound in emissions," he closed.