This article is a part of the #Youth4ClimateLive Educational Toolkit.
“When will things return to normal?” You may have heard people asking this question, or perhaps you have asked it yourself. Like climate change, COVID-19 has affected every single person in this world in some way, switching people's routines and dynamics. But we cannot and should not go back to what was “normal,” because—especially when it comes to climate—what was normal was not working. We all need to work together to create a new normal.
The past year has posed all manner of novel challenges and has necessitated major changes to our lifestyles. With the COVID-19 crisis disrupting “business as usual” and governments currently putting together large-scale recovery packages, 2020 is a landmark moment where we can choose to not only help people recover in the short term but also direct those investments towards a sustainable and resilient future. Stéphane Hallegatte and Stephen Hammer wrote on this window of opportunity in a World Bank Blog on the Green Stimulus Framework, titled “Thinking Ahead: For a Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19 (Coronavirus)”. In the piece, Hallegatte and Hammer advocate for a green stimulus approach that would promote short-, medium- and long-term economic growth. Our #Youth4ClimateLive moderator Salina Abraha captured the potential of the current moment well when she said that “We can either choose to reinforce existing systems or begin to build new ones.”
How can we rebuild our systems to be sustainable while also creating new employment opportunities? In #Youth4ClimateLive Episode 2: Driving Sustainable Recovery, we learned about the concept of green stimulus and looked at ways in which the world could rebuild greener after COVID-19 by focusing on clean renewable energy, energy efficiency, and nature conservation. For a quick summary, check out #TheLowdown on Episode 2.
Many countries have proposed some type of green stimulus, with a few naming their plans the “Green New Deal,” after American President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bold Depression-era relief program. Countries where a Green New Deal has been proposed include Great Britain, South Korea, and the United States. But while the inspiration behind such plans may be similar, there are many different perspectives around the world on the concept of green stimulus. Each country is bound to have its own approach to green recovery, colored by the needs of its people and its unique economic strengths and weaknesses.
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What could a green economy look like? What are the solutions?
Get Your Feet Wet
Different Takes on a “Green New Deal”
Read: Learn more about Europe’s approach in this official European Commission overview and how “South Korea Can Make COVID-19 Recovery Greener” in an op-ed piece from the World Bank.
Watch: GreenDeal4Youth explain what a Green New Deal actually means
World Bank Perspectives on Sustainable Recovery
Watch: this enlightening interview on the process of green recovery amid COVID, featuring the World Bank’s Global Director for Climate Change, Bernice van Bronkhorst: Coronavirus Live Series: How Can We Ensure a Sustainable Recovery?
Watch: World Bank Group Online Event: A Sustainable Recovery for People and Planet
Read: Greening the Recovery is a special series on fiscal policies to respond to COVID-19 published by the International Monetary Fund.
Read: Post-COVID recovery: An agenda for resilience, development and equality - This report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) offers practical advice on key investment and policy decisions for the crucial post-COVID recovery.
Listen: The Green Recovery: How We Engage the Global Private Sector is the first episode in Season 3 of the International Finance Corporation’s ClimateBiz podcast. Give it a listen!
Read: For more in-depth reading on how to sustainably recover post-COVID, take a look at the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Agenda for Resilience, Development and Equality.
Read: UNEP's multipart guide to Addressing the Climate Emergency, including a section dedicated specifically to Green Recovery