Coronavirus News Asia

Korea positioned for green future post-pandemic

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Governments globally are poised to inject a staggering US$10 trillion combined – at least – in recovery packages as they seek to reboot their economies after the unprecedented hit from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The figures on the table are extraordinary. And the decisions governing deployment of these funds are likely to shape global outcomes on public health, as well as economic and climate resilience, for decades to come. 

If the funds are used to prop up and lock in the high-carbon, high-polluting and increasingly uneconomic infrastructure and systems of the past, we can expect substantially elevated risks of repeating systemic economic shocks in a downward spiral of disease, despair and disruption.

The current pandemic-induced economic shocks would combine dangerously with the physical damage and systemic financial market risks posed by climate change, to potentially catastrophic effect.

Covid-19 has exposed the unsustainability of prevailing economic and environmental conditions, and the frailty of the carbon-based energy business when demand suddenly falls away.

It has illuminated and deepened chasms of inequality across regions, countries and communities. It has made clear that we cannot sustain thriving economies without our health, our safety and our security. It has revealed heightened vulnerability spurred by human encroachment on natural ecosystems.

The chronically damaged lungs and bodies of people exposed to years of air pollution – including pollution from fossil-fuel-fired power plants and gasoline-powered vehicles – are more vulnerable to the severe impacts of Covid-19. 

To promote a thriving economy and society – and emerge from this pandemic stronger, healthier and more resilient to future shocks – it is imperative to ensure that recovery resources are directed to smart, forward-looking solutions. This is the ethical test that International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol recently highlighted.

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