Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Global Climate Change Responses

In many senses the COVID-19 pandemic is a climate change parable, with similarities and consequent lessons to be drawn from our responses to each. In this analysis, we argue that while there are understandable competing fiscal and social constraints placed on national governments to urgently respond to the pandemic, there many COVID-19 responses that will have significant and long-lasting climate change benefits. To date, many countries have shown a mixed appetite to tie COVID-19 responses to climate objectives. Some have updated or are in the process of updating their mitigation ambition within NDCs and have tied stimulus measures to activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while others have evidenced a more equivocal or industry protectionist response. Countries that do manage to achieve such dual objectives will be well placed to ratchet up their climate ambition as required by the Paris Agreement in 2020, and will help sustain the delicate political momentum fostered in the climate negotiations since 2015.