G20 Must Protect People and Planet During Coronavirus Pandemic

Mighty Earth signed on to a landmark Open Letter, coordinated by the Club of Rome secretariat and the Minister for the Environment of Costa Rica, calling on G20 leaders to ensure the current coronavirus global crisis spurs countries to champion recovery solutions that not only rebuild lives and spur economic activity in the immediate wake of the crisis, but also “accelerate the transition to resilient, low-carbon economies and nature-rich societies.”

The Club of Rome is a high-level global hub of academics, politicians and environmental leaders who are setting the global climate emergency agenda and are a key driver behind World Earth Day.

We’re happy to report on the wonderful impact of the Open Letter that our CEO Glenn Hurowitz co-signed along with thousands of thought leaders, scientists, and world leaders, to urge the G20 for a green and just recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The letter helped mobilize major pressure for the G20 to explicitly commit to an environmentally sustainable and inclusive recovery for our citizens and planet. We are happy that we were able to do our small part in this big collective achievement – a testament to the solidarity of civil society.

One result of this letter was a marked improvement in the response of the G20. See here the final G20 Communiqué and Annexes from the G20 Finance Ministers meeting which took place virtually from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on 15 April. Whilst this G20 commitment could be better, with stronger language in the core text, nonetheless the final agreed language is significantly more robust than the G20 Leaders Declaration adopted last month. Moreover, it is crucial to take into account that has come from Finance Ministers, and was endorsed by all G20 countries, including the USA, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Germany and South Africa, among many others.

Most crucially, the G20 stated:

  • We reiterate our commitment to use all available policy tools to safeguard against downside risks, ensure a swift recovery and achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth
  • We commit to support an environmentally sustainable and inclusive recovery. We will be guided by a sense of shared, long-term responsibility for our planet and citizens

Mighty Earth hopes that this G20 Communiqué will shape upcoming coronavirus recovery related EU Council meetings, as well as the G20 meetings in July and in November at Heads of States level.

Coronavirus is presenting our societies with tremendous challenges and suffering. The response to this pandemic can deepen suffering by exacerbating climate chaos and high-carbon harm with coronavirus profiteering, or it can help nations and industries fight two battles at once: coronavirus and climate change. With global stimulus packages topping a staggering $14 trillion, we are on the cusp of major decisions that will shape nations, economies and the biosphere for decades to come. Let us be our best selves in this critical hour of need.