June 19, 2020
Green policies get a boost from recovery efforts
There was a big fear amongst environmentalists that the pandemic would crowd out environmental issues from the policy agenda. The health emergency made climate change disappear for a while. Exinction-rebellion or Friday-for-future protests were suspended. Economic effects from the pandemic, with the risk of unemployment, were perceived by some as a more imminent threat than the catastrophic effects of global warming for the planet.
But, now that countries are opening up again, the prospects are much more upbeat. The pandemic mobilised recovery funds to kickstart the economy, and green policies benefited from this money too. Look at the decision from the German government to subsidise electric cars only. The green rethink in our societies started some time ago already and will not easily be derailed. It could even get a boost through Covid-19. Industries as well as investors are reflecting on how to use the recovery effectively to slow down climate change.
In politics there is an upward current for environmental issues too. The Green party in Ireland is about to get into government, with a long list of green projects approved by the two bigger coalition partners. In France, Emmanuel Macron is receiving 150 concrete recommendations to fight climate change from a citizen convention established under the grand débat last year. The environmentalists are set to do well in the second round of local elections, cementing their influence at the local level. All parties are about to put on a green varnish on their party programmes. The only question is how much money there will be to finance all those projects and transitions.