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Climate: Is the energy transition helped or hindered by COVID-19 response measures

06 August 2020 Steven Knell, Ph.D. Susan Farrell

Key Implications

The billions of dollars being allocated for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic recession-related rescue and recovery plans have presented a unique opportunity for countries to tie aid and grants to future low carbon commitments. But has it been happening? IHS Markit reviewed over 100 fiscal and regulatory measures announced from March to June 2020 to assess whether the actions and associated qualifications would help or hinder the transition towards a lower carbon economy. Measures which would further a transition moved in the direction of our greener long-term energy scenario, while those which supported the status quo moved towards the less green.

  • The OECD countries have been leaders in furthering the energy transition, by attaching climate-related strings to recovery packages especially in Europe and Canada. The United States and Mexico are notable exceptions, with the US rolling back fuel economy standards and Mexico's putting a hold on new wind and solar projects.
  • Non-OECD countries in the main reinforced existing energy policies; the exception is China, the world's largest GHG emitter, which has implemented some measures in line with a less carbon-intensive pathway
  • Many countries have provided aid to large energy-consumers such as airlines, but in different ways. Brazil's $680 million relief plan for the top three airlines had no conditions attached. France provided a state-backed loan of €4 billion to Air France-KLM and Air France. In addition, a direct shareholder's loan of €3 billion to Air France required it to halve its overall carbon dioxide emissions per passenger-kilometer by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, with even higher targets for domestic flights.




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