Are we rebuilding better? Not yet, warns a UN report | Climate change news

Of the $ 1.9 trillion announced by the world’s 50 largest economies in COVID-19-related stimulus spending by the end of 2020, only 18% can be considered green, according to an article in the UN and Oxford University.

Much of major economies’ COVID-19 stimulus spending is not green, putting the world on track to invest billions of dollars in boosting polluting industries, a new United Nations document warned on Wednesday. from the University of Oxford.

Indeed, rescue spending was absolutely essential to provide immediate assistance so that health services meet increased demand and keep families and businesses afloat, wrote Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the Nations Program. United Nations Environment (UNEP), in the foreword to the report.

“Corn [governments] have choices when considering planning for recoveries once short-term relief has been provided, ”she added.

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered the biggest contraction in the global economy since World War II, prompting governments to spend unprecedentedly to save their economies hit by the virus.

Many leaders have pledged to “build back better” and use humanitarian aid to tackle climate change. So far, they are lagging behind.

Of the $ 1.9 trillion that the world’s 50 largest economies have announced in COVID-19-related stimulus spending by the end of 2020, only 18% – or $ 341 billion – can be considered green , according to the report.

“In many cases, governments have been playing politics,” report author Brian O’Callaghan, senior researcher at the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, told Reuters.

“We have seen examples of executives using small green packages to dominate the headlines, while quietly pushing much bigger packages without commenting on their environmental characteristics,” he told Reuters News.

Rich countries accounted for most of the green spending, including Spain, South Korea, Germany, and the UK. Most of the green funding was for transport, such as subsidies for electric vehicles and cycling infrastructure. Low-carbon energy also benefited, while the United States and China allocated cash to public parks.

Meanwhile, the debt burden has constrained spending in middle-income and developing countries. This trend suggests that in the future, substantial concessional funds from rich countries will be essential to tackle rising poverty levels and worsening inequalities in these poorest countries, according to the report.

Climate change and increasing levels of environmental pollution will continue to remind the world how vulnerable the global economy truly is. Climate disruptions will also continue to exacerbate inequalities within and between nations, the authors warned.

UNEP and Oxford have also highlighted “a growing body of evidence” that green tax expenditures can generate greater economic returns than traditional alternatives.

The report urged rich countries to use recovery funds to support least developed countries and marginalized communities, which have been disproportionately affected by both COVID-19-induced deaths and loss of life. jobs and income.

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