GREEN COVID-19 recovery packages could boost economic growth and help stop climate change, according to a Cardiff University academic.
Dr Jennifer Allan, a lecturer in International Relations, is part of the COP26 Universities Network, which has drawn on the latest research to create a briefing for policymakers outlining a path to net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19.
Dr Allan, who is based in Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics, commented: “The world is looking to the UK – as COP 26 President – to catalyse climate ambition during this difficult time.
“Launching a Sustainable Recovery Alliance to foster global cooperation would cement the UK’s leadership and demonstrate climate action.”
The growing group of more than 30 UK-based universities was formed to help deliver climate change outcomes at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow and beyond.
The briefing identifies ten fiscal recovery policies that promise to bring both short-term high economic impact and long-term structural change to ensure the UK meets its 2050 climate goals.
Among the policies emphasised are: renewable energy, reducing industrial emissions through carbon capture and storage, and investment in broadband internet to increase coverage, electric vehicles and nature-based solutions.
The briefing further called for the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change to be renamed the Climate Change Emergency Committee to reflect the urgent need for action.
Academics also highlight the leadership role of the UK in the leadup to COP26, as well as the opportunity to lead by example with a green recovery package. But they warned that the specific designs of any policy would ultimately determine its effectiveness.
Dr Allan added: “There is strong evidence, backed by experience, that climate policies can contribute to an economic recovery.
“It remains to be seen if new ideas can continue to sway decision makers.
“But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that society can change rapidly, and we quickly get used to entirely new habits and ways of life.
“A significant stimulus package will be necessary to restart the formal economy after COVID-19.
“Used innovatively, these forthcoming investments could ensure that they set Wales and the UK on a path to a more sustainable ‘new normal’.”