Call for green recovery that supports a sustainable future & social justice

Reading time: 4 minutes
19 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected states and regions across the world in a way that is completely unprecedented. We know that the months and years to come will be challenging and that we will need to work together on solutions that support a strong recovery.

Business as usual is no longer an appropriate response, let alone a goal, for our global health, social and economic systems. Rebuilding our economies to be more resilient gives us an opportunity to provide sustainable and healthy communities to our citizens, as well as ensuring a just transition. This will enable us to limit future emissions and create a resilient society to respond to the impact of the changes to our climate that are already taking place.

As the largest global coalition of states and regions, we urge decision-makers at all levels to set the world on a more resilient and sustainable path in responding to this global crisis. In order to achieve that, we urge the global community to place the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the core of economic recovery measures, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Transitioning to a zero-emission economy and committing to low-carbon investment can and will ensure job creation, social justice, and the long-term health and wellbeing of citizens and natural ecosystems, while building a society that is more resilient to future shocks.

Moving to a zero-emission future can deliver economic benefits of $26 trillion through to 2030, create 65 million new low-carbon jobs and avoid 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution1. In achieving the Paris Agreement targets of limiting temperatures to less than 2˚C of global warming, the economic benefits of avoiding further climate-related damages could yield $127-$616 trillion by 2100.2

As members of the Under2 Coalition, we are committed to keeping global temperature rise well below 2 °C and pursuing effort to limit it to 1.5°C and playing our role in delivering thriving economies and greater prosperity for all. We support the UN’s Secretary General’s call on world leaders and commit to play our role as well in the following:

  • Deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.
  • Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
  • Fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy and make societies and people more resilient.
  • Public funds should be used to invest in the future and flow to sustainable sectors, including in the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.
  • Work together as an international community.

Global challenges need a globally coordinated response. The Under2 Coalition of states and regions is prepared to tackle these challenges together to address the current crisis and build a better future for all. Since its inception in 2015, members have led on ambitious climate action, from setting net-zero emission targets to developing emission reduction pathways and advocating for international leadership on climate change.


1 The New Climate Economy Global Report - Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century

2 Nature Communications - Self-preservation strategy for approaching global warming targets in the post-Paris Agreement era

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