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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a tragic loss of life and significant social disruption. The response to the pandemic has also inflicted severe economic damage at all scales, from the local to the global economy. The fiscal position of governments has also been severely affected—with consequences potentially over the medium to long term—particularly for economies in developing countries.
Around the world, countries are developing economic recovery plans, recognizing that these plans must create jobs and stabilize the economy. Several countries are also embracing the idea of “building back better” with investments to deliver lasting social, economic, and environmental benefits. Governments are establishing economic recovery plans for the energy, agriculture, transport, and waste sectors, which are responsible for large emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). SLCPs, such as methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons, and ground-level (tropospheric) ozone, have a powerful effect on global temperature rise, and many are also damaging air pollutants. These governments recognize the importance of SLCP mitigation in the recovery—in effect, delivering on both immediate economic goals as well as longer-term climate and population health goals.
This note promotes the links between SLCP mitigation and the economic recovery. It highlights examples of how countries are addressing SLCPs in their recovery plans and provides options for resourcing the recovery. The note is aimed at public policymakers and their advisers. It deals with both the immediate stimulus that many governments injected into their economies and also the longer-term transformational policies and actions that will drive and sustain the recovery.