Investing COVID stimulus funds in green solutions would deliver a much faster economic recovery, according to new research released by a group of global mayors.
The C40 Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force said it is “deeply concerned” that only 3% - 5% of an estimated US$12 - $15 trillion in international COVID stimulus is currently committed to green initiatives.
The C40 wants investment directed towards mass transit, walking, cycling and green infrastructure.
By propping up old and polluting economies, the mayors warn in a statement that a “dirty recovery” will accelerate the climate emergency, endanger public health, cost lives, and sacrifice jobs.
“By ignoring the opportunity to make rapid green stimulus investments, most national governments and global institutions are likely leading us to catastrophic climate change”, the statement says.
The C40 Case for a Just and Green Recovery report makes clear that a green and just recovery would help cut air pollution by almost 30% in cities around the world and more than halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
“The most significant test of any government’s commitment to climate action right now is where it is directing COVID stimulus funding for recovery,” the mayors of the C40 Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force say in their statement.
The Task Force repeated their call to national and regional governments, central banks and international financial institutions to join them in delivering a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Their demands also include an end to public fossil fuel investments and subsidies; commitments to an equitable and inclusive recovery; protecting mass transit; and investing in clean energy and in resilient cities as the engines of the recovery.
C40 mayors also called on all those who share their vision for a green and just recovery to join their Global Green New Deal coalition of mayors, business leaders, trade unions, investors, youth activists, civil society and global citizens.
Giuseppe Sala, mayor of Milan, Italy, and chair of the global mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force said: “While we must continue to focus on preventing the further spreading of the virus and on responding to the immediate needs of our affected communities, we are also called to provide a long-term vision and to prepare for it as well as possible.
“I believe the results of the research on the benefits of a green stimulus – and the frightening costs of a lack of green stimulus – are compelling and influential.
“They demonstrate why a recovery that is green and just is the only possible recovery and what are the benefits of sustainable and equitable investments for our citizens.
“I am sure this will have a powerful domino effect in pursuing a green and just recovery throughout our continents.”