The world won’t be greener until it’s fairer | Simone Tagliapietra

Action on the climate crisis must come with a social contract to protect the poor and vulnerable

As a climate policy researcher, I am often asked: what is the biggest obstacle to decarbonisation? My answer has changed profoundly over the last couple of years. I used to point to the lack of affordable green technologies and an absence of political will. Today, I point to something else. Something less tangible, but possibly more challenging: the absence of a green social contract.

The green revolution is already unfolding, driven by a stunning reduction in the cost of green technologies and by a global momentum for climate neutrality by the mid-century. So, if cheaper green technology and an unprecedented political green ambition are rapidly converging, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, the situation is not as simple as it seems. Decarbonisation will reshape our economies and our lifestyles. Nothing will be left untouched in the process: the green world will be profoundly different from the one we know today.

Simone Tagliapietra is a research fellow at the Bruegel thinktank and an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of Milan. He is the author of Global Energy Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

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