The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a new policy brief about opportunities for a green, inclusive COVID-19 recovery. The document, called Making the Green Recovery Work for Jobs, Income and Growth, includes a review of announced recovery and stimulus policies in OECD and Key Partner countries. On the one hand, OECD governments have committed USD 312 billion in public funds to a green recovery; on the other, several countries propose measures supporting environmentally damaging activities, such as fossil fuel investments.
The policy brief highlights the need to monitor and evaluate the impact of recovery measures on the environment. It therefore proposes the use of 13 environmental indicators:
- Climate indicators: carbon intensity, renewable energy in the energy mix, effective carbon rates, fossil fuel support
- Biodiversity indicators: land coverage, protected areas, economic instruments relevant for biodiversity
- Other indicators: exposure to air pollution, material productivity, water stress, environmentally related tax revenue, research and development, environmental official development assistance.
The OECD analysis says that the current period of low oil prices offers an opportunity to step up the introduction of carbon pricing and increase efforts to phase out support for fossil fuels, adding that protecting the vulnerable is important during such reforms. The policy brief also explains the role of sustainable finance for a green recovery and draws attention to the potential of nature-related jobs as a source of employment. During a Ministerial Roundtable, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said:
“It is encouraging to see many governments seizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure a truly sustainable recovery, but countries should go much further in greening their support packages. Climate change and biodiversity loss are the next crises around the corner and we are running out of time to tackle them. Green recovery measures are a win-win option as they can improve environmental outcomes while boosting economic activity and enhancing well-being for all.”