There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has taken a human and socio-economic toll over the course of the last six months, with more than 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths recorded so far. However, the pandemic has always provided moments of hope and economy across the globe, from the boom in ecommerce and the rise of remote working to the unexpected 8% emissions reduction reported in the UK. These trends have also been impactful across the globe, and there’s no doubt that they have the potential to sustain significant and positive change into the future.
This is definitely the case when it comes to the environment, but is now really the ideal time for a developing a green and sustainable economy?
What is a Green Economy and Why Should the World Care?
Of course, the Covid-19 outbreak came on the back of global environmental protests by organisations such as Extinction Rebellion, which sought to drive radical change and introduce a green economy that would make the UK carbon neutral by 2025.
This was deemed to be incredibly ambitious by some commentators, although the current Conservative government has pledged to create a greener, carbon neutral economy by 2050.
OK, we hear you ask, but what exactly is a green economy? In simple terms, this refers to an economy that aims to actively reduce the environmental risks posed by business and wealth generation and ecological scarcities, while also driving sustainable development without degrading the environmental landscape.
While regulations and multilateral agreements such as the Paris Climate Change Agreements take care of the first element of this, it’s socially responsible investment that drives the second.
The best example of the latter exists in the form of investment in renewable energy technology, which is arguably the single most important dynamic for future infrastructure spending throughout the global community.
Can Covid-19 Trigger Increased Green Technology Spending?
With this in mind, the importance of green economics and increased renewable energy technology spending is clear, while the sharp decline in emissions during the coronavirus outbreak has raised hopes that a green global economy may be on the horizon.
Remember, China was already emerging as the world’s leading investor in renewable technology prior to the outbreak, with a global report also highlighting the continuing decline of oil values as being indicative of a changing global landscape.
Of course, there’s some argument as to whether the record decline in oil prices is triggered primarily by an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand, while the recent fluctuations of the US dollar may also be influential.
Still, there’s no doubt that fossil fuel consumption is set to decline incrementally in the coming years, and this is definitely a factor when appraising the issues faced by oil of late.
Ultimately, these facts hint at a greener and more sustainable future, and it cannot be denied that most developed economies were investing in renewable energy sources at record levels prior to the pandemic.
The question that remains, of course, is to what degree the recent emissions reductions across the globe have been inspired by such changes? The answer is telling, particularly if it turns out the reduction in CO2 emissions over the course of the last two months was solely driven by the widespread lockdown measures that curbed road and air travel.
Regardless, now is clearly the ideal time to push a greener agenda and continue laying the foundations for a more sustainable future.