The lessons COVID-19 holds for climate change policies

Bnamericas Published: Saturday, May 23, 2020
The lessons COVID-19 holds for climate change policies

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy will serve as lessons about the economic and financial damage climate change could cause.

“Both are non-financial risks, but they have systemic effects both on a real economy and financial market level,” Gianleo Frisari, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) climate change senior specialist said during a webinar.

Also, both crises are “non-seasonal, in the sense that their evolution isn’t linear, and their impacts are regressive in the sense that they hit more vulnerable populations,” he added.

Frisari warned that the vulnerabilities created by the COVID-19 crisis could amplify the effects of climate change-related events.

The main difference, however, is that the pandemic poses an immediate risk, leaving little room for preparation, while preparation for climate change is possible.

“We’re seeing how the perspective of many financial institutions is changing,” Frisari said, adding an IDB/Reuters poll last month among European and North American investors found that most had either started or were planning to start an analysis of environmental, social, or governance risks in emerging markets.

The executive also said Latin America has advanced with green financing, while the bank has increased its climate change-related financing, aiming for 30% of total operations in 2023.

The IDB, according to Frisari, is advancing an electro-mobility program to facilitate public transport, which is “central for both” crises.

“At IDB we’re supporting many cities to re-think how to reorganize transport,” he told BNamericas.

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