FreeWord – Green Politics, part 2: COVID-19 Impact
The purpose of this 2 part series is to review green political and governmental decision-making ability and its accountability in the global environmental situation and orientate you with the basic knowledge of green politics. In this second part, we will focus on COVID-19 impact on green politics.
Due to this year’s global economic shutdown we have been witnessing a decline in carbon emissions. By the end of this year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), expects this year’s annual emissions to be 6-8% lower than in 2019 – the largest annual percentage drop since World War II. If nothing else changes, emissions will rise up again, as they have been after each recession since the first oil shock. Considering that emissions have to fall by at least 7.6% every year to 2050 in order to keep global warming below 1.5C, this internationally agreed target is starting to feel beyond reach. However, the COVID-19 crisis revealed to us that it’s possible to reduce our planet’s emissions. There is also a strong business case for using this crisis to usher in global systemic change for the greater good.
Some political analysts hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would serve as a reminder for the greatest threats to prosperity such as climate change which in turn would increase respect for nature and global commitment. Still, national governments are narrowing their focus on immediate concerns, such as securing jobs and the economy, rather than our the planet. Instead of promoting climate and social policy experts recommended green stimulus packages to kick-start the economy, the United States, Mexico, South Africa, and other countries have recently eased pollution laws and vehicle energy efficiency standards that bind the nation to increase transportation emissions for at least a decade. Unbelievable!
Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewables
We can so much more than just respond to disasters in an economic point of view. Policymakers should be redirecting over $5 trillion annually spent on fossil-fuel subsidies to create circular economies that set foundations for a green and mitigates the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss.
If saving the planet is not enough, it is a fact that renewables are widely available and often cheaper than fossil fuels. There should be global laws that phase out from fossil fuels and it should start from eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, as the G7 nations and many European countries have pledged to do by 2025.
Making the Right Choices
Further structural changes could mean people swapping their preferences to environment friendlier, like combustion engines for electric vehicles and shifting from industrial to regenerative agriculture. This would turn a profit, improve economic and environmental resilience, create jobs, and improve well-being in both rural and urban communities. However, the choices we make are often bounded by society, so a shift towards a low-carbon society often can’t happen via individual action alone. Studies suggest that the only consistent factor that increased the uptake of the green in both policy environments is the number of environmental entrepreneurs. When a critical mass of entrepreneurship is created, the political gap on climate change will disappear and environmentally friendly practices will be adopted increased rate.
We should start preparing for the reconstruction of our economy by focusing on the creation of new small businesses, offering consulting, technical training, and tax incentives. Executing the necessary recovery plans to utilize renewable energy sources and sustainable development more effectively. Like climate change, biodiversity loss, and economic collapse do not respect national or even physical boundaries. We must work within the planet’s natural limits while also ensuring that marginalized communities do not fall behind, these problems can only be managed through global group actions, increasing the momentum of this struggle must remain highest on the political agenda.
We hope you liked this series and in case you missed it, you can find part one here. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Daily Roundup straight to your inbox, check out our other articles and interviews on our homepage, or continue the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages.