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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Following a deep recession in 2020 and further contraction in 2021Q1, the euro area economy recovered rapidly in the second and third quarters thanks to high vaccination levels, increasing household and business adaptability to the virus, and continued forceful policy support. Looking ahead, while supply chain disruptions, elevated energy prices, and resurgences of Covid-19 cases—including those related to the Omicron variant—are likely to pose near-term headwinds to growth, the recovery is set to continue in 2022 as the impact of the pandemic on economic activity continues to weaken over time and supply-side constraints ease. Medium-term output losses relative to pre-crisis trends will vary significantly across countries and sectors as will the extent of labor market scarring. Price pressures are building up as production bottlenecks are set to persist for a while. However, inflation—despite increasing significantly in recent months due to transitory factors—is projected to moderate during 2022 and remain below the ECB’s inflation target over the medium term. Uncertainty surrounding the outlook remains high and largely related to pandemic dynamics and legacies, including induced behavioral and preference changes.
Khaled Eltokhy, Ms. Katja Funke, Guohua Huang, Yujin Kim, and Genet Zinabou
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world announced unprecedented fiscal packages to address the economic impact of the crisis. The unusually large scale of the packages was accompanied by widespread calls for “greening” them to meet the dual goals of economic recovery and environmental sustainability. In response, several researchers and international organizations attempted to assess the “greenness” of the fiscal policy response of the world’s largest economies. This paper takes stock of the contributions made by these various trackers, identifies strengths and weaknesses of their methodologies, and draws lessons for assessing the climate impact of fiscal policy going forward. It finds that: trackers provided useful assessments of the (generally low) level of greenness and raised awareness; trackers’ methodologies, while valid and innovative, varied significantly with some important, if currently largely unavoidable, weaknesses; and the way forward should involve tracking the greenness of entire government budgets, rather than just their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Johannes Emmerling, Davide Furceri, Francisco Líbano Monteiro, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Pietro Pizzuto, and Massimo Tavoni
COVID-19 has had a disruptive economic impact in 2020, but how long its impact will persist remains unclear. We offer a prognosis based on an analysis of the effects of five previous major epidemics in this century. We find that these pandemics led to significant and persistent reductions in disposable income, along with increases in unemployment, income inequality and public debt-to-GDP ratios. Energy use and CO2 emissions dropped, but mostly because of the persistent decline in the level of economic activity rather than structural changes in the energy sector. Applying our empirical estimates to project the impact of COVID-19, we foresee significant scarring in economic performance and income distribution through 2025, which be associated with an increase in poverty of about 75 million people. Policy responses more effective than those in the past would be required to forestall these outcomes.
Pierre Guérin and Felix Suntheim
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.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The global economy is climbing out from the depths to which it had plummeted during the Great Lockdown in April. But with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, many countries have slowed reopening and some are reinstating partial lockdowns to protect susceptible populations. While recovery in China has been faster than expected, the global economy’s long ascent back to pre-pandemic levels of activity remains prone to setbacks.