Forbes, Marianne Lehnis,
Amidst the urgency of masks and makeshift hospital wards, Covid-19 headlines overshadowed reporting on the climate crisis, but key events of 2020 have helped turn the tide towards a global green economy.
China’s 2060 Carbon Neutrality Pledge
As the biggest carbon dioxide emitter in the world, China’s stance on green energy has stark repercussions for the rest of us. China may be a world leader in investment in wind, solar energy and electric vehicles, but the superpower fell short of making a resolute promise to shift to carbon neutrality – until now. In September 2020, President Xi Jingping told the UN general assembly it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and pour resources into a green post-pandemic recovery. This is the first time China has laid out a clear long-term plan for its decarbonisation. For the planet, this could be a defining moment: the largest carbon emitter in the world has now officially pledged to fully transition to green energy.
Joe Biden’s Climate Pledge And Green Tax Credits
With a Joe Biden presidency, the US will change its tune on climate change: Biden has promised a 180 degree turnaround set to be just as dramatic as his climate denying predecessor. Under Biden, the US could rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement as early as February, reverse Donald Trump’s climate deregulation, halt the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and adopt a Green New Deal that pledges to make the US carbon neutral by 2050.
As part of the US’ $900 billion pandemic relief bill, congress approved extensions to renewable energy green tax credits – a move that’s expected to prolong the US’ renewables building boom.
The European Green Deal
At the December 2020 Climate Ambition Summit, the European Commission revealed an ambitious target of 55% greenhouse gas reductions by 2030. The European Green Deal aims to make Europe fully carbon neutral by 2050, laying out rigorous policy initiatives for its 100 billion Euro promised investment, market incentives and social protection to make this a reality. The EU’s finance arm, the European Investment Bank, has given the deal financial clout with 1 trillion Euros of investment in climate action promised from 2021 to 2030. As part of the deal, the EU plans to promote the circular economy with sustainable products and waste reduction.
Boris Johnson’s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’
As the UK prepares for a future outside the EU, Boris Johnson has laid out careful plans to boost Britain’s green economy: a £12 billion investment package for what he’s dubbed a ‘green industrial revolution’ that aims to drive growth in renewable energy, nuclear power and the restoration of the British countryside. He hopes to power every home in the UK with offshore wind farms and phase out sale of petrol and diesel powered vehicles by 2030. Investment will also go towards developing world-leading technology for capturing carbon and he envisions the City of London as the centre of green finance.
The pandemic, inadvertently, created a scenario where governments were forced to pump large amounts of money into their economies to prevent looming disaster. And as they rose to the challenge of filling a pandemic-sized chasm, many have grabbed hold of the opportunity to build back better, promising the green energy sector the massive jumpstart its long awaited. A decade from now, 2020 could come to symbolise far more than the year the pandemic shook the world.