A renewed focus in India on a green economic recovery from Covid-19 would create more jobs, spur long-term growth, and save lives, a new report from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, and Vivid Economics finds.
Investigating two other countries with large domestic coal production in addition to India, Poland and China, the report models how greener measures, particularly reforestation and making buildings more energy-efficient, could yield better economic results.
For all countries, the report provides a generalised roadmap for policymakers to design and pursue a green recovery from economic crisis.
Brian O’Callaghan, Lead Researcher and Project Manager of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, said: “The government responses to Covid-19 have the potential to significantly influence the course of climate change.
“Our research suggests that public investment in green initiatives can deliver strong economic returns, and if well targeted, address social inequalities and create a cleaner natural environment. This is particularly true during periods of economic downturn where job creation and economic rejuvenation are of marked importance.”
Corina Campian, Project Lead at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, said: “A low carbon world will help secure a healthy and prosperous future for today’s children. Evidence to this are the numbers provided in this report, showing the impact that green recovery investments can have on climate, health, and on jobs. This cross-sectoral impact is impossible to ignore.”
Beyond its economic advantages, a greener recovery from the pandemic would also save lives through improved air quality.
The researchers estimate if India allocated as much money to green stimulus measures as it has to coal power ($7.7 billion), it could suffer 34,000 fewer deaths and 56,000 fewer birth complications.
For all three countries (India, Poland and China), prioritisation of ecosystem restoration could be key to strengthening post-pandemic jobs markets. Modelling by the research team found that hydropower is the most job-intensive of all the interventions studied, boosting short-term employment by 191 job-years for every $1 million invested.
Their findings also suggest that for every $1 million invested in sustainable reforestation, the atmosphere would be spared up to 3.2 megatons of CO2.
Making new and old buildings environmentally friendly would also significantly strengthen economic output while reducing CO2 emissions, and there are opportunities for all three countries to increase the size and scope of their activities in this area, the report states.
The report’s core recommendations for India are to prioritise investment in electric transport, clean cooking, renewable energy solutions, natural capital, and sustainable agriculture, to explore sovereign green bonds, green financial incentives and encourage long-term investment in capacity building at all levels of government and to introduce a dedicated task force on green recovery.
A ‘Roadmap to Green Recovery’ was published by the Economic Recovery Project at the Smith School, University of Oxford in collaboration with Vivid Economics.
The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation funded the research with additional support from the ClimateWorks Foundation.