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Pandemics: what’s after?

 The pandemic has put the global economy in a stupor; most countries in the world, according to analysts, are on the way towards a grave crisis. Only few sectors will be able to avoid reforming, restructuring or liquidation. Where to look for a way out of the crisis? RSEU Climate Secretariat supports the viewpoint of the Club of Rome that the “green agenda” could be a salvation: that is, taking fossil fuels off and supporting circular economy.  

Not only the so-called “alarmists” are now appealing to climate ambitions. When asked about the ways of “post-Covid-19” development, the Club of Rome published an open letter.  An authoritative meeting of the scientific and political elite addressed the leaders asking them to be wise and use the opportunity to create economic recovery plans in a truly transformative way, by investing in people, nature and low-carbon solutions.” 

Such a message from the respected analytical community is a landmark, since it is customary in the world to take into consideration statements of the Club of Rome; their advice is taken into account when forecasting the development of industries, corporations, and countries as a whole. 

The Club of Rome named its concept “Healthy Planet for Healthy People” and suggested to use “this time of turmoil” to formulate economic recovery plans that would create more sustainable communities. Analysts are confident that to overcome the current crisis, which has shown flaws in the healthcare system, economy, climate policy, we need genuinely sustainable solutions.  

“It is the right time now to abandon fossil fuels,” wrote representatives of the Club of Rome. They focus their attention on what they call “recovery packages” which should include strong economic incentives: “it is necessary to invest in nature and people, not in fossil fuels.” 

European analysts believe that governments have an unprecedented chance to move away from growth “at any cost” and find a balance of interests of nature and people, and the subsidies that were intended for the fossil fuels should be redirected to the green and social infrastructure, as well as the healthcare system. “Quite obviously, under the ‘green course,’ we can guarantee a sustainable economy and create new jobs in the ‘post Covid-19’ reality.” 

According to experts, global problems can be managed “only through collective action, not by waiting for them to turn into full-blown crises; they should not be expected as threats on their own, but as a potential series of shocks ... Just like Covid-19, climate change, biodiversity losses and financial collapse do not fit within national and physical boundaries.”  

“It is no less important that climate and biodiversity remain on the top of the agenda in 2020 and beyond, and that leaders take every opportunity to maintain momentum in these areas. We must remember that international cooperation is the best option to address future hazards.” 

Investments in nature and people, as it follows from the letter of the Club of Rome, will bring profit, increase the sustainability of the economy and the environment, create jobs, protect biodiversity and enhance the well-being of rural and urban communities. Analysts list the most relevant areas of activity: renewable energy, reforestation, the development of sustainable food systems, and transition to a local, circular and low-carbon economy. Experts explain their choice: these technologies are presently available all over the world and, in many cases, those are cheaper than fossil fuel, which means there is virtually no need to keep supporting fossil fuels.  

  “The time has come to use our fears, inspire hope and encourage leaders to respond to the crisis with solutions that will create sustainable societies in the long run. For all of us, the moment has come when we must take part in a joint leadership and work together to find ways out of this crisis with a global economic restart,” members of the Club of Rome wrote. “People and nature should be at the center of this deep transformation of rearrangement, renaissance and restoration. The prosperity of people and the planet is only possible if we take daring decisions now. ”  

The low-carbon ideas of the Club of Rome are already finding support. The Netherlands submitted its proposals to the European Commission on overcoming the “post-Covid-19” crisis in a plan for restoration of the European Union. The Dutch are proposing to increase investment in “green infrastructure”, as well as in “projects to increase human capital and green sectors”. At the same time, it is proposed to exclude nuclear energy from the support plans, which the Dutch consider forbidden and unworthy of receiving EU funds. 

Representatives of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union (RSEU) have repeatedly emphasized the need for a transition to low-carbon development. In their Position, environmental activists advocate maximum efforts to make sure that political and financial problems would not push the fight against the climate crisis to the background. “The largest greenhouse gas emitting countries should stop delaying emissions reductions for the future and take action now ... A coordinated effort needs to be made to voluntarily revise their national goals, i.e., contributions to global efforts (National Determined Contribution) to immediately get on the way of genuine decarbonization of the economy ... We must take these conditions into account and use new opportunities,” they emphasized.