The intrinsic links between climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated global calls for policymakers to take immediate action on both fronts. Fiscal stimulus supporting recovery from the pandemic can be designed to simultaneously address climate change. In turn, this could help reduce the spread of future pandemics as climate change is a threat multiplier for pandemics. Destruction of the environment and biodiversity makes pandemics more likely while pollution and other man-made factors driving climate change weaken the health of human beings, raising their vulnerability to viruses and other diseases.
Every second, the region has averaged 106 new internet users.1 This fast-paced digital revolution holds the promise of transforming economies and people’s lives. It takes on added importance as countries across the region grapple with the unprecedented health and socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. All policy levers are being deployed to protect lives and livelihoods. Digital solutions have helped to provide more resilience and allowed for rapid, flexible, and inclusive policy responses to the pandemic.
The scientific consensus is clear: climate change is associated with increasingly frequent and intense natural disasters ranging from droughts and wildfires to hurricanes and coastal flooding. While the extent of the economic damage cannot be known for certain, strong evidence suggests it could be quite severe. The challenge for policymakers will be to decide how much to spend on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To do that, they must be able to compare the costs of various options, including renewable-energy sources and electric cars.
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Ian W.H. Parry, Rick van der Ploeg, and Roberton Williams
Market-based instruments like carbon taxes are potentially the most effective policies for reducing energy-related CO2 emissions. They do this by cutting the demand for fossil fuels and making it more attractive to use zero-carbon fuels like renewables.
Charles Griffiths, Elizabeth Kopits, Alex Marten, Chris Moore, Steve Newbold, and Ann Wolverton
Without action to control rising greenhouse gases (GHGs), scientists predict that climate change will continue over time, bringing higher temperatures, sea level rise, and the potential for abrupt changes in earth system processes, with likely negative impacts on agricultural yields, ecosystems, human health, and more.
An efficient forest carbon sequestration program could account for about a quarter of the desired global carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation over this century (with most of the remaining 75 percent from reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels). An estimated 42 percent of this carbon storage could be achieved via reduced deforestation, 31 percent from forest management, and 27 percent from afforestation, with about 70 percent of overall carbon sequestration occurring in tropical regions.
Low- and lower-middle-income countries contribute only about 12 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, though this share is increasing (and they account for a larger share of other greenhouse gases).