Briefing: Climate change and climate action

• Source: European Parliament

The coronavirus crisis presents challenges as well as opportunities for policies to address the issue of climate change. Measures taken in reaction to the pandemic have led to a dramatic fall in economic and social activity, and to a corresponding temporary drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Certain behaviour changes adopted during the crisis, such as teleworking and video-conferences, may persist and lead to permanently reduced emissions related to commuting and business travel. On the other hand, use of private cars may increase if public transport is considered as unsafe. The economic crisis has had a negative impact on household or corporate finances, which may lead to reduction or delay to investment in low-carbon technologies. Recovery packages for restarting the economy offer an opportunity for promoting low-carbon investment, but also bring the risk of financing the continuation of emission-intensive products and activities. The postponement of the COP26 climate change conference by one year slows down international climate action, but also offers the opportunity for the Parties to develop ambitious long-term strategies in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

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