News & events

The Guardian launches new climate series The Last Chance

The new series looks at what the world is doing to fight global heating and manage a green recovery.

Today The Guardian has revealed that covid recovery plans are threatening global climate hopes. An exclusive analysis has found that the prospect of a green recovery is hanging in the balance as countries pour money into the fossil fuel economy to stave off a devastating recession due to the coronavirus.

Analysis by Vivid Economics shows green spending under Biden growing 14-fold while non-green stimulus shrinks

The new rankings reveal that the EU is a frontrunner, devoting 30% of its £677bn Next Generation Recovery Fund to green ends. On the other end of the scale, China is faring the worst of the major economies with only about £1.1bn slated for green projects.

In at least 18 of the world’s biggest economies, more than six months on from the first wave of lockdowns in the early spring, pandemic rescue packages are dominated by spending that has a harmful environmental impact, such as bailouts for oil or new high-carbon infrastructure, outweighing the positive climate benefits of any green spending, according to the analysis.

Only four countries – France, Spain, the UK and Germany – and the EU have packages that will produce a net environmental benefit.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian today, Greta Thunberg has blasted politicians as hypocrites over the climate crisis. She also said until humanity admits it has failed to tackle the climate crisis and begins treating it like an emergency like the coronavirus pandemic, society will be unable to stop global heating.

The interview forms part of The Guardian’s new series The Last Chance, a look at what the world is doing to fight global heating and manage a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis, in the week the Cop26 climate conference was supposed to be held.

Former UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has told The Guardian world leaders are running out of time to forge a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, with only a year to go before a crunch UN summit that will decide the future of the global climate.

Ban said: “I have been urging world leaders – it is absolutely OK, it’s only necessary that they spend money to resuscitate their economy [but] at the same time, they should never put climate ambition back.

“I’m afraid that most of the important priorities have been focused only on Covid-19.”


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