As a second wave of Coronavirus sweeps across continents, people around the world are facing more lockdowns and financial difficulty. Governments are spending billions to counter the economic crash. ClientEarth believes this is a chance to make the global recovery green, putting nature and the climate at the heart of a better world.
The world suffered a huge economic crash in 2008, but things are very different this time. In the last few years, there has been a giant shift in understanding about the climate emergency. 70% of people say they're worried about climate change, and the push to decarbonise has support from every corner of society, from industry to politicians to school children going on strike.
Companies are also starting to set green targets. Even those invested in the most polluting resources - like oil companies - are making positive noises about the cutting of fossil fuels. The media is covering the green trend, and there is hope and positivity among environmentalists. A genuinely green recovery is within reach.
A sustainable recovery could take many forms. Greener energy could mean more investment in sustainable technology and jobs. If this is the case, ClientEarth would expect to see clearer rules on what is and isn't good for the environment, and carbon prices that reflect the true environmental impact of industries.
Corporate lobbying is one of the key reasons governments have not fully reacted to the climate crisis so far - posing a big risk to a green recovery. ClientEarth is hopeful future spending will benefit the environment as well as people, and the charity is here to make sure that happens.
The charity developed a response with its Chief Executive, James Thornton, to the UK Prime Minister, demanding climate conditions for company bailouts. It also coordinated a letter from the Healthy Air Campaign to the Prime Minister in support of action to tackle air pollution as part of a green and healthy recovery. ClientEarth also commissioned polling on the recovery to support its asks, including support for consumer incentives for cleaner vehicles. The charity also commissioned a report from WPI Economics on policy asks that would make a difference to people's living standards as well as to the environment.
As the world slowly recovers from COVID-19, there's a huge opportunity to defend people's health as well as the planet and nature.