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Environment

World Leaders Must Act Now to Ensure 'Green Recovery' From COVID-19, Energy Agency Warns

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Despite wealthy countries being responsible for much of the world’s carbon emissions, their impacts harm poor countries the most. The United Nations’ Global Goal 13 is to take urgent action on climate change and world leaders now have the chance to do so coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can join us in taking action on this and related issues here.

The next few months will mark a pivotal period when it comes to the efforts to curb carbon emissions as COVID-19 lockdowns are slowly lifted around the world.

Carbon emissionshave dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a halt, and now the International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling on governments to prioritize a green recovery in order to avoid a carbon rebound, the Guardian reported.

"The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond" Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, told the Guardian.

"If we do not [take action], we will surely see a rebound in emissions," he added. "If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages."

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The IEA has unveiled a plan for the sustainable economic recovery of the energy sector, one that it claims would create nearly 9 million new energy jobs, increase global gross domestic product by 1.1% in each of the next three years, and make 2019 the peak year for carbon emissions.

However, governments around the world have collectively offered more than $500 billion in stimulus funds for high-carbon industries, according to the Guardian. Fossil fuel industry companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Koch Industries could also be in line for a bailout from the United States government.

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Reducing carbon emissions is a goal that must urgently be met if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided.

The Paris Agreement, a pledge made between countries to hold global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, has called for countries to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, yet the world remains well off track of hitting that goal, according to the Guardian.