Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

COVID recovery spending gets a shade greener, but not enough

Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

National governments are boosting clean energy funding in economic recovery packages, but not nearly enough to significantly alter the global emissions path, the International Energy Agency warns.

Driving the news: IEA's out with its latest "Sustainable Recovery Tracker," which tallies efforts to stitch climate-friendly spending into big COVID-19 rescue and recovery packages.

  • As of October, governments have earmarked $470 billion for clean energy in those plans, up 20% since the end of July.
  • "Recovery plans globally are still insufficient to put emissions into structural decline," IEA said.

The big picture: Since the pandemic's early days, IEA and other multilateral bodies have called for using the unprecedented fiscal response to bolster climate-friendly projects.

  • The latest data shows it's not happening even close to the degree advocates had hoped.

Yes, but: Green spending in recovery measures is hardly trivial, and IEA estimates it could "mobilize" another $400 billion annually in public and private investments in clean energy and sustainability in 2021-2023.

  • They also note new policies under consideration in the U.S., Japan and other advanced economies. But globally, it's well short of levels envisioned in IEA's "Sustainable Recovery Plan."
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