Back in late March, when the corona crisis had finally forced us all from our offices and into our homes, Climate Strategies gathered our extraordinary membership of distinguished researchers (virtually of course) for a series of discussions on the “Green Rebound”.

With the topic so well examined, and with so many opinions, reports, think pieces, articles, webinars and Tweets emerging on the issue, we wondered how our network could add something meaningful to the debate…

Climate Strategies members all share a deep commitment to climate policy decision making that is well-informed and evidence-based. But with our members’ interests spanning multiple diverse disciplines, the conversations inevitably covered huge ground – from trade, global cooperation and multilateral governance – to public trust in science – from the potential for radical behaviour change – to the future path of globalisation.

Some of Climate Strategies’ members and staff discussing the ‘new normal’ context on 29 April 2020

Here at the Climate Strategies Secretariat (the small team of full-time staff that coordinate the Climate Strategies network – working with our members to bridge the research policy-interface), we felt immensely privileged to be in a position to create the space for these stimulating discussions to take place.  

While much of the discussion was exploratory, some concrete policy recommendations did emerge. Those that stood out to us the most have been captured and summaries here:

  • Any conditions on recovery packages from developed to developing countries should be co-created in a similar model to NDCs, which would further strengthen multilateralism;
  • Social capability building and bottom-up empowerment, rather than traditional debt relief, will increase the potential for longer-term, sustainable transformative change. Innovation and technology development can be improved through mechanisms similar to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the EU innovation fund, to jointly address the crisis and development goals.
  • COP26 provides an opportunity to negotiate a new global financial goal, which could also include a public sector sub-target;
  • Governments can utilise the cooperative frameworks for the global sharing of intellectual property rights, which have been developed to find a vaccine, to increase technology transfers and cooperation, supporting multilateral climate governance;
  • State bailouts should have conditions ensuring corporations align with the Paris Agreement;
  • In some countries, introducing universal basic income may ease the complexities of the current need for an increase in state welfare, while also providing a social safety net for longer-term restructuring and just transitioning of major industries.

The coronavirus recovery has created an opportunity to rebuild from this crisis along new and novel climate action pathways, in ways which might have seemed beyond the bounds of possibility just six months ago. So the central conclusion of our discussions was that – to properly utilise this critical inflection moment for effective climate action – we need a solid evidence-based to build decisions upon.

And so perhaps one of the most valuable things to come from these talks was the chance to share our thoughts, concerns, and ideas. A moment of catharsis, to share our fears and hopes with a community of the likeminded. A space for cross-pollination, traversing disciplines and borders, supporting us all to develop and build upon our ideas.

The Covid-19 crisis has affected all our lives, scientists and politicians alike. It would be naïve to think that science alone could hold all the answers to such a deeply personal, emotive and value-laden emergency. But here at Climate Strategies, we know that, just as with the climate emergency, the best solutions will lie in a coming together of people and ideas, and the bridging of boundaries.

Go to the Climate Strategies website for a full summary of all the Climate Strategies’ dialogues on Covid-19 and The Green Rebound.

Authors: Julie-Anne Hogbin, Zoe Rasbash, Olivia Crowe