António Guterres

António Guterres -“Public Funds Should Be Invested In The Future, Not The Past”

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, had a message for the world: We face not one, but two global threats. 

“We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption,” said Guterres.

Restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus have drastically changed our lives and economies, creating a unique opportunity for us to invest in more sustainable societies.

Guterres suggested directing coronavirus relief money into a greener economy, with jobs in renewable energy. Since taxpayer money helps businesses stay afloat in the economic downturn, the money should go toward more resilient and eco-conscious businesses.

“Public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past,” said Guterres.

Climate change will have economic consequences. We can expect billions of dollars in natural disaster damages, healthcare for pollution-related illnesses and unstable access to affordable food. But a lot of that cost can be prevented.

If we shift to renewable energy now, we can mitigate climate change and protect jobs in the energy industry when the oil runs out. Renewable energy is even cheaper once the infrastructure is in place.

To kick off a greener economy, Guterres recommends ending fossil fuel subsidies and taxing polluters to hold them accountable for their damage. He also recommends that climate risks be incorporated into economic systems like the stock market.

“Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries, we should put aside our national affiliations and come together as people of Earth.”

This story is based on Earth Day Network Newsletter, edited by Clean-Future Team