The shutdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in a short-term decline in global carbon emissions, but the long-term impact of the pandemic on the transition to a low-carbon economy is uncertain. Looking at previous episodes of financial and economic stress to draw implications for the current crisis, we find that tighter financial constraints and adverse economic conditions are generally detrimental to firms’ environmental performance, reducing green investments. The COVID-19 crisis could thus potentially slow down the transition to a low-carbon economy. In light of the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, these findings underline the importance of climate policies and green recovery packages to boost green investment and support the energy transition. Policies that support the sustainable finance sector, such as improved transparency and standardization, could further help mobilize green investments.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper provides estimates of output multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation, as well as for spending on non-ecofriendly energy and land use activities. Using a new international dataset, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. Although not all green and non-ecofriendly expenditures in the dataset are strictly comparable due to data limitations, estimated multipliers associated with spending on renewable and fossil fuel energy investment are comparable, and the former (1.1-1.5) are larger than the latter (0.5-0.6) with over 90 percent probability. These findings survive several robustness checks and lend support to bottom-up analyses arguing that stabilizing climate and reversing biodiversity loss are not at odds with continuing economic advances.