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Sat Apr 18, 2020, 12:39 AM

'Coronavirus profiteers' condemned as polluters gain bailout billions

Leaders condemn backing of global sectors that disregard green economy goals

Polluting industries around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic to gain billions of dollars in bailouts and to weaken and delay environmental protections.

The moves by the fossil fuel, motor, aviation, farming, plastic and timber sectors are described as dangerous and irresponsible by senior figures. Environmental campaigners describe some participants in these industries as “coronavirus profiteers”.

Economic and energy leaders say the unprecedented sums of money being committed to the global recovery are a historic opportunity to tackle the climate crisis and create a safer, more resilient, world. However, such action has been lacking to date, they warn.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said: “When I look at different parts of the world I have not seen yet a major emphasis on clean-energy technologies.” He warned of mistakes similar to those made after the 2008 financial crisis when stimulus packages led to the biggest leap in carbon emissions in 50 years, four times greater than the reduction initially seen.

“If we put the money in the right place, we can manage the [climate] risk, and have a much more modern, cleaner and safer energy system,” Birol told the Guardian. “But if you put the money in the wrong place we will lock ourselves in a dirtier energy system, making it much more difficult to reach our climate targets.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/17/coronavirus-profiteers-condemned-as-polluters-gain-bailout-billions

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