Economy and climate need more than stimulus after COVID-19

Media reports say climate change mitigation will play a prominent role in the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the federal government planning to invest in the environment as part of its stimulus spending. Stimulus is a concept associated with John Maynard Keynes, calling for public spending to kick-start the economy. Stimulus was used after the 2008 global financial crisis, but was quickly removed, and the global economy never fully recovered.

For the clean-energy initiatives that were part of the post-2008 plan, it was boom and bust. What was missing from the quick-hit stimulus was a move by the government to define a new trajectory for investment and innovation for decades to come. A focus on long-term investment would have been truer to Keynes's ideas and would have defined the economic direction needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This time, we need to get it right.