Two crises, one planet: It is now or never that we must act for a better future

An article by David Wortmann is featured in The Beam #11 – Power in People. Subscribe now to read more on the subject.


We don’t have the time or the money to solve the COVID-19 induced global economic crisis and the climate crisis separately. Governments around the world are currently working on economic recovery programs to revitalize business activity and bring people back into the workplace.

The chance we now have is to tackle both aforementioned crises at once. That is why globally, voices demanding a concerted effort which pays greater attention to long term political goals, particularly climate goals, within the economic recovery programs are becoming ever louder. Instead of propping up outdated fossil fuel based business models – which would allow them to manifest in various ways for decades into the future – now is the time to use the investment window and push the ecological-social transformation of the global economic and industrial systems.

The impact of COVID-19 on the supply chains has shown that there is great value to all stakeholders in being able to withstand exogenic shocks to a certain degree and that it is important to set incentives accordingly. At the same time those with more resilient systems respond with more success to events like sudden crashes or price spikes in raw materials. France has demonstrated how governments can couple stimulus to green boosts: the 7 billion EUR aid package Air France is receiving has the added condition of halving co2 consumption per passenger by 2030 – which the company believes they can achieve by investing efficiently and switching to alternative fuels.  During the international Petersberg Climate Dialogue in April 2020 German chancellor Angela Merkel made her commitment to “consider economy and ecology together”.

Further, in addition to international coordination around the Green New Deal, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the SDGs, Merkel declared it imminent to act forcefully also “within nation states”. In the last weeks many NGOs, Think Tanks and Lobby groups have drawn up extensive roadmaps on how to approach economic recovery programs – usually emphasizing the importance of cleantech, sustainability and a green economy. At the centre of most of those plans we usually find “Green Deals”. These consist of climate friendly tax reforms, support of renewable energy production and infrastructure to reach the Paris Climate targets, boosting the deployment of modern heating and cooling tech, enabling green hydrogen where sensible and investing into intelligent mobility concepts.

Within these progressive actors we can now find a consensus that the effective economic recovery programs should adhere to the “4-t criteria” (timely, temporary, targeted and transformative). Let us not waste this unique opportunity to instill better incentives into global and national economic policy.

Power to the People.