It is difficult to venture what the environmental implications of the ongoing crisis will be, for that reason ENT has decided to make a joint reflection on how the coronavirus crisis will affect environmental policies. For this we have used a SWOT analysis that we present in this editorial. We hope this information might be of interest:
- Climate change discourse has increased in importance.
- The European Commission has put a lot of effort into developing the ideas of the New Green Deal and these have a lot of inertia.
- Liberal discourse is weakened from this crisis, at least in the areas of health and strategic resources.
- Social awareness has been generated to face the need to reduce pressure on the environment. It is necessary to see if this is transferred to public policies.
- New climate public policies are still pending to develop and articulate. They are not sufficiently consolidated.
- Environmental policies are still understood as spending policies, not as policies that strengthen the economic base.
- The European Union and the international community have shown significant difficulty in operating jointly and facing this crisis quickly, which once again exposes the fragility of the global system to deal with environmental problems with global incidence such as climate change.
- An excess of “hygienism” is implanted structurally.
– Car use increases at the expense of public transport.
– Second-hand market declines
– Waste generated by single-use and hygienic products increases.
– Online sales and the increase in transportation and associated packaging increases.
– Prioritization of street cleaning versus waste management.
- There is a standstill in new environmental legislation.
– Deployment of environmental taxation (establishment of waste rate in Barcelona, tax on CO2 emissions from vehicles by the Generalitat, etc.)
– Sanctions Implantation in Barcelona’s Low Emission Zone
– 5G development without environmental guarantees.
- There is an excessive relaxation of the existing environmental legislation.
– Ex: maximum CO2 levels for cars.
– Ex: Reduction of taxes / rates linked to consumption.
– Ex: Possible increase in fishing quotas for 2021 above the recommended levels (at the expense of current legal regulations)
– Ex: omnibus of Urban and environmental processing to facilitate economic activity.
- That big companies be favoured instead of promoting drastic changes towards the decarbonisation of the economy and the local economy.
- Standstill of environmental investments with mid-term returns due to the economic crisis.
– Ex: private energetic rehabilitation
- Priority of environmental policies in public discourse decreases.
- Public environmental investment decreases due to the economic crisis.
- Subsidies/Aids to economic sectors (for example, automotive or aviation) does not have environmental constraints, despite OECD recommendations to the contrary.
- Some environmental policies become of secondary importance.
– Ex: marine area.
- Promotion of Public investment that simultaneously benefits the generation of employment and environmental benefits
– Ex: renewable generation, waste or water management plants
- New public regulations with environmental benefits are developed to adapt to the new context.
– Ex: more sustainable individual transport is promoted: bikes, scooters, etc …
- Decrease of mobility, promote home-working (partial) on a large scale
- The link between health and the environment is reinforced and indirectly some environmental policies are reinforced.
– Ex: pollution, biodiversity, environmental investigation.
- There is a change in the political perception of the “monodependence” from tourism and therefore policies of diversification and less international dependency are promoted: + social economy, + local food, + local production
- Environmental taxation is seen as a source of income at a time when public revenues will fall
- New empirical references on the reduction of environmental impacts that show the way forward for prevention policies
– Ex: active mobility → Atmospheric pollution
This is a live analysis process, so if you have any comments or improvement suggestions you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.