The head of the International Energy Agency has warned that the world has only six months to stave off climate catastrophe brought on by a rebound of greenhouse gas emissions following global coronavirus lockdowns.
Cautioning that "this year is the last time we have," to avert disaster, Fatih Birol called on governments to craft economic reopening strategies that ensure emissions are cut sharply and permanently.
"The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond," Birol told the Guardian. "If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages."
As world economies attempt to bounce back after the stagnation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IEA has offered the blueprint for "green recovery" that focuses on creating environmentally friendly jobs like constructing solar panels and wind farms.
Jamie Peters, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, drew attention to the IEA's plans.
"A post-Covid world must be a fair one. It will only be equitable if the government prioritises health, wellbeing, and opportunity for all parts of society," Peter said. "As if the case was not compelling enough in a dangerously heating planet, it is even more urgent post-Covid."
According to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, more than half a trillion dollars has been invested into high-carbon industries like airlines.