A net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19

As the world emerges from the crisis of COVID-19, governments will introduce recovery packages to boost economic growth, including in the UK. These will have a highly significant impact on the UK’s future prosperity, including its potential to meet its legally mandated net-zero emissions obligation. Collectively, the packages will strongly influence whether the global Paris Agreement targets are met.

This briefing identifies ten fiscal recovery policies (see Table 1) which promise to bring both short-term high economic impact, and long-term structural change through decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic growth. These policies would support the UK in meeting its legally binding commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 while achieving wider social equality by ‘levelling up’ and addressing regional and intergenerational disparities, as affected workers are retrained, and physical infrastructure and environmental assets are improved.

The COP26 Universities Network

This briefing is produced in association with the COP26 Universities Network, a growing group of more than 30 UK-based universities working together to help deliver an ambitious outcome at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow and beyond.

EAUC are proud to be a partner to the COP26 Universities Network.

Key messages

  • Economic growth will be a high priority for all countries in the months and years following COVID-19. The transition to net-zero emissions can significantly contribute to the recovery.
  • Lessons can be learnt from the recovery packages introduced following the 2008 financial crisis, but the COVID-19 crisis is structurally different on the demand and supply side.
  • In the lead up to COP26, the UK could provide guidance and methodologies to evaluate proposed recovery packages for consistency with the Paris Agreement and net-zero emissions.
  • The UK could lead by example with a recovery package including components on net-zero buildings, energy storage, clean industry, transport and greenhouse gas removal.
  • Institutionally, this could be supported by establishing a ministerial Climate Change Emergency Committee along with a Net Zero Delivery Body to implement a coherent response.
  • Financially, a new National Investment Bank and focus on green financial instruments could enable the process.
  • Building on these domestic efforts, as COP26 President, the UK could coordinate a global response through a new flexible intergovernmental Sustainable Recovery Alliance.

The full briefing can be found below.

COP26 Universities Network Briefing