Dialogue activities in the times of the coronavirus pandemic

In light of the spread of COVID-19 and the restrictions on public life, we suspend the upcoming events of the Dialogue on the Economics of Climate Change for the next months.

The event series Forum Climate Economics, which emphasizes the personal interaction and lively exchange between participants, will be paused for the time being. The 7th Forum Climate Economics “Fossil Fuel Phase-out and Just Transformation” planned for May 5th, 2020, is re-scheduled for October 12th, 2020, in the hope that by autumn meetings like the Forum will be possible again. All other events of the Dialogue on the Economics of Climate Change will either be cancelled, postponed, or be carried out in virtual formats.

Our team is of course available for suggestions and inquiries – preferably via email – and plans new virtual activities that address the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for climate and the economy.

Climate economics in the times of COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis leads to restrictions in all sectors and areas of life. At the moment, the protection of the public’s health has shifted to the foreground of the political agenda. Simultaneously, governments use multi-billion-dollar financial aid packages to safe jobs and navigate businesses successfully through the crisis. Side effects on greenhouse gas emissions are already foreseeable; first projections by Agora Energiewende forecast that Germany will probably reach its 2020 climate target because economic activities decrease. To ensure climate protection, however, temporary reductions will not suffice and long-term adjustments in infrastructure, the economy, and behavior will be indispensable. From the viewpoint of climate change economics, many questions arise regarding the long-term influence of the coronavirus crisis on life, work, the economy in Germany and the world and thus greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Will the structural change processes from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and more efficient technologies stifle as prices for fossil fuels and carbon allowances are low? To what extent will the financial stimulus packages keep brown sectors afloat or support sustainable investments?
  • How will the conditions and the volume for investments, especially green investment, change?
  • The current crisis forces people and businesses to reorganize their daily life to be more environmentally- and family-friendly as employees move to home offices and businesses widely implement new communication channels. Can these new experiences drive the change from the old dominant paradigm of working at the office, to new forms of work that require less individual traffic and reduce emissions?
  • The acute threat of the pandemic seems to increase the public’s acceptance of drastic measures that are communicated transparently and supported by easily accessible scientific analyses. Are there lessons to be learned for climate policy?  

Researchers from the funding measure Economics of Climate Change aim to contribute answers to these and related questions. As the Dialogue on the Economics of Climate Change we want to provide opportunities for exchange and to spark a debate. Stay tuned for more!