The shutdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in a short-term decline in global carbon emissions, but the long-term impact of the pandemic on the transition to a low-carbon economy is uncertain. Looking at previous episodes of financial and economic stress to draw implications for the current crisis, we find that tighter financial constraints and adverse economic conditions are generally detrimental to firms’ environmental performance, reducing green investments. The COVID-19 crisis could thus potentially slow down the transition to a low-carbon economy. In light of the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, these findings underline the importance of climate policies and green recovery packages to boost green investment and support the energy transition. Policies that support the sustainable finance sector, such as improved transparency and standardization, could further help mobilize green investments.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.
Mr. Christian Bogmans, Lama Kiyasseh, Mr. Akito Matsumoto, and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
Not anytime soon. Using a novel dataset covering 127 countries and spanning two centuries, we find evidence for an energy Kuznets curve, with an initial decline of energy demand at low levels of per capita income followed by stages of acceleration and then saturation at high-income levels. Historical trends in energy efficiency have reduced energy demand, globally, by about 1.2 percent per year and have, thus, helped bring forward a plateau in energy demand for high income countries. At middle incomes energy and income move in lockstep. The decline in the manufacturing share of value added, globally, accounted for about 0.2 percentage points of the energy efficiency gains. At the country level, the decline (rise) of the manufacturing sector has reduced (increased) US (China) energy demand by 4.1 (10.7) percent between 1990 and 2017.
While the world’s attention is on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change remains a greater existential threat to vulnerable countries that are highly dependent on a weather-sensitive sector like tourism. Using a novel multidimensional index, this study investigates the long-term impact of climate change vulnerability on international tourism in a panel of 15 Caribbean countries over the period 1995–2017. Empirical results show that climate vulnerability already has a statistically and economically significant negative effect on international tourism revenues across the region. As extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe over time, our findings indicate that the Caribbean countries need to pursue comprehensive adaptation policies to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change.
Mr. Jiaqian Chen, Maksym Chepeliev, Mr. Daniel Garcia-Macia, Ms. Dora M Iakova, Mr. James Roaf, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
This paper aims to contribute to the debate on the choice of policies to reach the more ambitious 2030 emission reduction goals currently under consideration. It provides an analysis of the macroeconomic and distributional impacts of different options to scale up the mitigation effort, and proposes enhancements to the existing EU policies. A key finding is that a well-designed package, consisting of more extensive carbon pricing across EU countries and sectors, combined with cuts in distortionary taxes and targeted green investment support, would allow the EU to reach the emission goals with practically no effects on aggregate income. To enhance the social and political acceptance of climate policies, part of the revenue from carbon pricing should be used to compensate the most vulnerable households and to support the transition of workers to greener jobs. A carbon border adjustment mechanism could complement the package to avoid an increase in emissions outside the EU due to higher carbon prices in the EU (“carbon leakage”). From a risk-reward perspective, the benefits of reducing the risk of extreme life-threatening climate events and the health benefits from lower air pollution clearly outweigh the costs of mitigation policies.