Covid-19 has devastated the worldwide economy and made governments around the world to pour trillions into the recovery effort.
The current pandemic could have been the critical moment in the fight against climate change – an opportunity for the world leadership to bail out the environment and direct the planet toward a greener future.
However, it has been found that some of the biggest fossil fuel-producing countries in the world are injecting taxpayer money into propping up polluting industries. Meanwhile, exclusive new data shows that these decisions are taking the world a step closer to a climate catastrophe.
“This is the one chance that we have,” said professor Niklas Höhne, founding partner at the NewClimate Institute, a climate think tank, and co-author of an upcoming study from the Climate Action Tracker shared with CNN.
The research reveals that the world is running well behind its already insufficient targets of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
“We are in a situation where enormous sums of money are (being) spent,” Höhne said. “A similar opportunity for spending so much money from government budgets will not come in the next 10 to 20 years.”
The UN says that it is necessary to phase out fossil fuels to stop catastrophic man-made climate change whereas it is going to be hard to get rid of them. The communities around the globe rely on fossil fuels for their energy, their jobs, their livelihoods. While, in turn, governments rely on their votes and taxes.
In order to relieve an industry “shaken by the pandemic, Poland is spending $35 million to buy up unwanted coal. Whereas on the other side, the Canadian province of Alberta is investing $1.1 billion into a new oil pipeline, deemed “essential” for economic recovery.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Queensland has fast-tracked a new coal mine to help the state “bounce back from the impacts of Covid-19.” At the same time, India is opening up dozens of coal mines helping the private sector in order to “turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity.”
The climate change battle is taking place in these communities and people’s livelihoods in these countries depend on industries that the rest of the world needs them to give up.