China can lead a green recovery
28 May 2020
Programme Director Cameron Hepburn has told China Daily that China has the opportunity to accelerate the world's response to climate change after the pandemic. While the Chinese government's Work Report, delivered by Premier Li Keqiang last week, focuses on stabilising employment, Prof Hepburn was encouraged by inclusion of elements of a green recovery. He believes that COVID-19 recovery packages can boost economic growth and also halt the progress of climate change if they are designed with environmental concerns in mind.
The International Energy Agency estimates that global emissions will fall by 8 percent this year as a result of actions taken to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Prof Hepburn warned that emissions may rebound and even surpass previous levels if governments do not make sustainability a key priority when making up for lost productivity. China has the opportunity now to reduce oil and coal use - and renewable energy can generate twice as many jobs as investment in fossil fuels as well as reducing air pollution and increasing public health.
Hepburn said, "The direction of China's economic recovery post-COVID-19 will shape the global response to climate change－China will recover earlier than other major economies, and has the potential to be a global leader on climate."
Cameron Hepburn is also a lead researcher on the UK-China cooperation programme on Climate Change Risk Assessment