We should learn the lessons from the COVID-19 crisis, which has dramatically demonstrated the unpreparedness of the global economy to systemic risks, despite early warning from scientists. In 2019, climate change was linked to at least 15 extreme weather events costing between US$1-10 billion each. The IPCC predicts that such extreme weather events will likely become more frequent with the rise in global temperatures. Investing in high-carbon activities without climate conditionality in the hope that it will help the global economic recovery would only prepare the ground for future systemic crises. Economic stimulus packages should contribute to building a healthier, more resilient, net-zero-emissions economy.
The Energy Transitions Commission is a coalition of leaders from global organisations across the energy, industry, finance and civil society sectors. Their companies and organisations have been hit by the economic downturn, but they continue to be committed to building a better economy. This should be one that enhances the health of people and ecosystems, and that builds our resilience by better anticipating and mitigating risks. In particular, it is vital to reinforce action to address the climate change related risks, by achieving net-zero greenhouse gases emissions by mid-century and driving sustainable economic prosperity.
Clean energy, low-carbon and digital solutions are fundamental pillars of a better economy: they can improve the quality of the air we breathe, enhance our quality of life, limit the occurrence of climate-related disasters. They can also underpin new businesses and new jobs: according to IRENA, the cumulative gains for transforming the energy system could reach US$98 trillion between 2020 and 2050, greatly exceeding the related investment costs (US$ 15 trillion) Governments have the choice, the power and the responsibility to build this new economy faster with businesses and civil society. We believe they can do this and help the global economy recover by putting 7 key priorities at the heart of economic stimulus packages.