Covid recovery to drive carbon emissions
Carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high by 2023 as just two per cent of pandemic recovery finance is being spent on clean energy, the International Energy Agency said on 20 July 2021. Countries have allocated more than $16 trillion (€14 trillion) in fiscal support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, mostly in the form of emergency financial help for workers and businesses. The IEA's Sustainable Recovery Tracker found that just $380 billion of this had been provided for clean energy projects.
- If all spending plans were to be realised, the intergovernmental body said, global carbon emissions would hit record levels in 2023 and continue to rise in the following years.
- Overall carbon pollution would be 3.5 billion tonnes higher than a scenario in which economies are compliant with the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature goal of the Paris climate deal.
- Although pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions saw carbon pollution fall briefly last year, concentrations of planet-warming gases in Earth's atmosphere are still on the rise.
- Among developing nations, that fell to just 20 per cent, as countries hard hit by Covid-19 prioritised emergency health and welfare spending over sustainable investment.
- Overall, the IEA said that all countries were missing the opportunity to divert private and public funds towards green projects that would provide triple climate, health and economic benefits.
- Governments need to increase spending and policy action rapidly to meet the commitments they made in Paris in 2015 -- including the vital provision of financing by advanced economies to the developing world.