We have seen the significant impact on the environment during the
lockdown period, with air pollution plummeting and wildlife flourishing
as industrial and human activity has dropped.
Economically however, the consequences have been brutal with mass unemployment and major industries under pressure. As countries work through the COVID crisis, plans for economic recovery have become as essential as those for virus eradication. The benefits of a green economy, including increased employment, have long been recognised and now the European Union has taken this unique moment in time to develop a green recovery plan that boosts the economy while driving towards emissions reduction targets.
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen “The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: the European Green Deal and digitalization will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment.'
The €750 billion recovery plan incorporates the fundamentals of the European Green Deal, with a focus on renewable energy and building renovation, resulting in job creation, consumer utilities cost reduction and cuts in energy use.
Boosting sales of ‘clean’ vehicles over the next two years and installing a further one million charging stations for electric and hydrogen vehicles are a core part of the plan. Significant support has been allocated to grants and loan guarantees for upgrades including renewable heating systems, solar panels and insulation.
Expanded funding for the Just Transition Fund
will assist businesses with re-skilling so that they can take full
advantage of these new green economic opportunities as they come into
Sixty of the UK’s business leaders including the CEOs of Iceland Foods & The National Trust have called on the government to take this opportunity to lead a green recovery stating that ‘if nature is protected, we are protected’. The EU Green Recovery plan will provide a potential roadmap for other countries including the UK to see how this can be achieved and learn from their experiences.