LONDON: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged governments to use their economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic to tackle the “even deeper emergency” of climate change, in a message for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
With global battle lines emerging between investors backing green stimulus measures and industry lobbyists aiming to weaken climate regulations, Guterres cautioned governments against bailing out heavily polluting industries.
“On this Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War,” Guterres said in a statement. “But there is another, even deeper emergency, the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis.”
A landmark in the emergence of the environmental movement when it first took place in 1970, Earth Day has prompted calls from many companies, politicians, and economists for governments to pursue green recoveries.
The massive economic stimulus packages launched by the United States, China and European governments have focused mainly on staunching the damage to existing industries and staving off the threat of a global depression.
The #COVID19 crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call.
We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to build a better future.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 21, 2020