Europe Pushes for Green Stimulus, Will Congressional Republicans Finally See the Light?

Speaking ahead of a virtual meeting of 30 nations, Germany and Britain’s environment ministers said Monday that efforts to revive the global economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic must ensure a ‘green recovery’ that helps the world tackle climate change, according to AP. The ministers emphasized the importance of economic recovery programs to invest in jobs of the future that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the need for the global community to work together to prioritize a green recovery.

Additionally, ahead of the digitally-held Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an annual summit organized by the German government in preparation for the UN climate conference, 68 companies released a statement expressing their support of green economic stimulus measures.

Why This Matters: Aside from the declaration from Europe’s two largest economies French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also expressed that any recovery efforts should be in line with the EU’s climate goals and across the world, New Zealand has indicated a similar goal. But here in the United States, when Democrats tried to push for similar measures in recovery packages they were met with ridicule by their Republican colleagues. But Republicans recently pushed for their  Trillion Trees Act to include incentives for homeowners and homebuilders to use low-carbon building materials, energy-efficient appliances, and more insulation–though this certainly won’t yield as many jobs as investing in renewables.

Renewable Energy Outlook: Whereas the outlook for investment in renewable energy projects in the United States looks uncertain, in Europe the environment is much more favorable. Despite COVID-19 and a global economic recession, France had stepped up its commitment to renewable energy.

In the U.S.? After President Trump and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mocked clean energy, the industry–one of America’s most promising–could lose up to half a million jobs without necessary protections and precautions.

The Opportunity: As OilPrice.com explained, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)–an organization dedicated to promoting global adoption of renewable energy and facilitating sustainable use–says that it will cost the global economy $95 trillion to help return things to normal.

  • Investing $110 trillion in renewables could, on the other hand, potentially spur an even more robust economic recovery from COVID-19 by creating massive socioeconomic gains as well as generate savings of $50 trillion-$142 trillion by 2050.

This goes to show that we know what the biggest job-creating investments are in our economy, we just need the political will to direct federal dollars into those industries. Europe is taking the data seriously, will the U.S.?

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