Cameron Hepburn

A net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19

Allan, J., Donovan, C., Ekins, P., Gambhir, A., Hepburn, C., Reay, D., Robins, N., Shuckburgh E. and Zenghelis, D. (2020). ‘A net-zero emissions economic recovery from COVID-19’. COP26 Universities Network Briefing.

As the world emerges from the crisis of COVID-19, governments will introduce recovery packages to boost economic growth, including in the UK. These will have a highly significant impact on the UK’s future prosperity, including its potential to meet its legally mandated net-zero emissions obligation. Collectively, the packages will strongly influence whether the global Paris Agreement targets are met.

This briefing identifies ten fiscal recovery policies (see Table 1) which promise to bring both short- term high economic impact, and long-term structural change through decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic growth. These policies would support the UK in meeting its legally binding commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 while achieving wider social equality by ‘levelling up’ andaddressing regional and intergenerational disparities, as affected workers are retrained, and physical infrastructure and environmental assets are improved.

Similar policies also received a high level of supportfrom G20 senior central bank and finance officials during an April 2020 global survey, with results published in a companion research paper and paper to this briefing is also available.