UPDATE, May 5, 2020:
The EU has earmarked an unprecedented amount of money to help the economy recover from Covid-19 -- over €1 trillion over the next 12 months! Not only is that a chance for us to save our planet, it's OUR ONLY CHANCE.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised to invest in Europe's plans for a just climate transition. And, as big polluters are lining up for a piece of the pie, we can force the EU to secure a big bag of cash for a green future for Europe.
The Commission, then the Council and Parliament, will have to make very quick decisions on how that money is spent. The Recovery Fund itself could be in excess of 300 billion euros. How it is spent is up to us and how much noise we're ready to make.
We can’t go back to business as usual after the Covid-19 crisis ends.
A return to “normal” means more pollution-choked skies, more pesticide-soaked fields, more disappearing forests… and potential consequences thousands of times deadlier than this pandemic.
But not everyone understands that we can't have healthy people without a healthy planet. As banks, airlines and fossil fuel corporations lobby for bailout money, a group of parliamentarians is already trying to pressure the EU to push back the Green Deal -- a years-in-the-making plan to slash emissions, bring back biodiversity, and complete a fair and just energy transition -- in order to "support businesses" in the wake of the coronavirus.
An EU committee is meeting to discuss Covid-19 and the Green Deal. Before they destroy all the progress we've made, we must demand the EU use this chance to double down on its green goals -- by creating an emergency spending plan that invests in both people and the planet.
Environmental organisations have already written to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament with these demands -- now it's up to us to rally public support behind them:
- Make distribution of stimulus funds and bail-outs conditional on consistency with the European Green Deal
- Reform fiscal rules to ensure continued public investment in decarbonising the economy
- Launch large-scale sustainable initiatives to employ people affected by the downturn
- Accelerate EU sustainable finance policies
- Limit future health crises by acting globally against climate change and biodiversity loss
Covid-19 is testing our society like nothing else before it. And while some greedy corporations and governments are taking advantage of the upheaval to further their own selfish agendas, you and the rest of the SumOfUs community are rising to the challenge.
We’ve already seen how your pressure helped get UK private hospitals to turn their beds and equipment over to the NHS, and pushed companies like Uber and Amazon to offer some measure of sick leave to delivery drivers on the front lines of the pandemic. But that’s just the beginning.
It’s time to think about the world that awaits us once we leave our houses again -- and how we can use this chance to make it better, and greener, than we ever imagined.
In partnership with
The Guardian. 24 March 2020.
Politico. 26 March 2020.