Viewpoint: Investing in Green Growth

29 NOV,2020 | MEDC


 

Climate change tends to distort the natural pattern of human-animal interaction globally, thus leading to a rise in zoonotic diseases like Covid-19. If we continue to remain passive spectators, our planet is on course to soon cross points of no return on the climatic front.Many of the root causes of climate change are also increasing the risk of pandemics. This is not the first pandemic that humankind haswitnessed and it will not be the last. There is already an increase in the number and intensity of storms, floods, and droughts throughout the world, which are all directly or indirectly linked to global warming and climate change. If at all there are any political barriers to green growth, they need to be overcome at the earliest. What we are witnessing today is just a prelude to what awaits us if we do not realize the gravity of the situation and take immediate remedial action. The only way out now is to invest heavily in green growth, which will help rewrite the rules of nature, and avoid catastrophic global warming. The short-term response of the government has to obviously revolve around protecting (and generating) jobs as well as boosting the economy, but in the long-run, focus must remain on strategic policy goals like mitigating climate change, and strengthening systemic resilience. We need to remember that a green recovery is not just environmentally feasible, but it is also fundamentally good government policy that ensures the foundations of long-term socioeconomic stability and the sustainability of public finances. A green recovery will assist in employment generation. There are some critical areas that need to be worked upon to achieve our climate-related goals, and most of them are labour intensive. For example, to reduce carbon emissions, a lot of public housing will need to be retrofitted. Likewise, renewable energy generation is much more labour intensive than that of fossil fuel based energy. The need of the hour is to redirect finance into socially sustainable activities. This may run into politically rough weather, but that is precisely where the sincerity and doggedness of policymakers plays a role. The unfortunate fact is that the impact of climate change is greatest in those countries that have contributed the least to climate change. However, lamenting will not change any historical injustices. Policymakers now need to correctly price in negative externalities so that a green recovery is incentivized. The global community also needs to provide more support to climate vulnerable developing countries so that they can invest in building resilience into their systems. This will necessitate a clear strategic prioritization of public policy, so that scarce resources are directed towards those areas most in need of them. Fiscal and monetary systems will also need to be aligned with long-term sustainability goals. If we don’t act today to facilitate a green economic recovery, we will only have ourselves to blame tomorrow.

*Photo Credit: Google

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