The collapse in global economic activity will result in a short-term dip in global greenhouse gas emissions growth. One estimate put the carbon dioxide reductions resulting from China’s February shutdown at 200 million tons1, around half the UK’s annual emissions. However, this is of course a temporary impact. The more significant point in relation to climate change is the impact of COVID-19 on the practical preparations and political momentum ahead of the critical COP26 climate meeting. The kind of mass climate demonstrations which were so effective last year will not be possible, and governments’ attention will inevitably be distracted.
At a macroeconomic level, the International Energy Agency have also warned that the slowdown is likely to stall many government-funded green projects, as governments urgently divert resources to keeping businesses and individuals afloat. Collapsing energy demand will also have a negative impact on private sector investment; in Europe, for instance, the EU emissions trading scheme price has fallen sharply, decreasing the incentive for renewables investment. Further ahead, there may be potential for ‘green fiscal stimulus’ – government spending on new green infrastructure – but it is too early to say how likely this is.
To access our full report on the early implications of COVID-19 on the ESG agenda.
The value of investments and any income derived from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the original amount invested.
Views and opinions have been arrived at by BMO Global Asset Management and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.