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Australia's climate future to evolve as economy is rebuilt

Australia’s climate future to evolve as economy is rebuilt

Just a few months ago there had been growing consensus among scientists, activists, economists and even investors that 2020 would be pivotal in the fight to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Around the world global warming had become manifest in the intensity of fires and floods, droughts and storms, prompting politicians to catch up with the view of voters on the urgency of the problem.

In November, world leaders were to meet in Scotland for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference to set even more ambitious emissions targets and outline concrete plans on how to meet them in the effort to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. Projects that will use hydrogen in transport, such as this hydrogen-power bus in France, are among those potentially eligible for the CEFC funding. But the Glasgow meeting has been cancelled and politicians are now focused on keeping citizens alive in the face of a more immediate threat.

Rather than lose the momentum that had been growing, scientists and activists groups around the world are focusing on a campaign to ensure that economic stimulus packages being adopted around the world are green.

On Friday, the World Economic Forum released a statement in support of the European Union’s “Green Deal”, declaring that it must become the “cornerstone” of Europe’s pandemic recovery.

“Rather than rebuilding the 20th-century economy, we must focus on spending stimulus money wisely and on preparing Europe for a competitive and inclusive 21st century, climate-neutral future.”

Earlier this month, the University of Oxford released findings of a study of 700 previous stimulus packages which showed that a green stimulus created more jobs per dollar spent than a black one.

Launching the study, one of the lead authors, Professor Cameron Hepburn, told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that he believed the decisions politicians made in coming weeks would decide how future generations experienced climate change.

“The recovery packages are vital to getting our economies going again and to putting us on a cleaner path to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” he said.

The Oxford research was one of a wave of reports, studies and papers recently released as various groups seek to catch the attention of leaders. In one report, the World Bank suggested that tax concessions could be offered to low-carbon fuel categories while the current low prices might be an opportunity for countries to withdraw subsidies to the oil sector.

The international Monetary Fund made similar recommendations advocating for measures to modernise grids, expand public transport and support climate change adaptation projects. The United Nations secretary general António Guterres declared that taxpayers’ money deployed in stimulus should be spent on “new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition” and that when it was used to rescue business, it should be “tied to green jobs and sustainable growth”. The word’s first liquid hydrogen ship, the Suiso Frontier, is christened at the Kobe Works yard in Japan.Credit:Kawasaki Heavy Industries The movement for a green recovery has some serious political backing around the world. […]

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