Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Tue 5 May 2020 02.00 EDT
Projects will deliver higher returns amid Covid-19 crisis than conventional spending, researchers claim
Green economy recovery packages for the coronavirus crisis will repair the global economy and put the world on track to tackle climate breakdown, but time is running out to implement the changes needed, new analysis has shown.
Projects which cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as stimulating economic growth deliver higher returns on government spending, in the short term and in the longer term, than conventional stimulus spending, the study from Oxford University found.
Many of the projects that could create new jobs in the UK are “shovel-ready”, compliant with social distancing requirements and could be started quickly, said Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School of enterprise and the environment at Oxford University and lead author of the study.
He cited energy efficiency programmes to insulate the UK’s draughty housing stock, the building of electric vehicle charging networks, redesigning roads for more cycling, flood protection and planting trees. “These all need large-scale deployment, offer low to moderate skilled work and will have benefits in terms of climate change as well as boosting the economy,” he said.
The Oxford study compared green stimulus projects with traditional stimulus, such as measures taken after the 2008 global financial crisis, and found green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per pound spent by the government, and lead to increased long-term cost savings.