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Globalization, Climate Change, and Cleantech Supply Chains in the Age of COVID-19

April 15, 2020


Jonas Nahm,
Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Professor Jonas Nahm led a discussion on globalization, climate change and cleantech supply as part of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy and Energy, Resources and Environment program’s webinar series.

Nahm recalled that many of the initial stories in the wake of Covid-19 claimed that one of the potential environmental benefits is the drop in emissions reductions. He noted however, that these reductions are temporary and smaller than most people think. He argued that past reductions during financial crises have all been temporary and every recession has been followed by a post crisis emissions spike. He also mentioned the need to dissociate economic crisis and climate change because it is important to show that societies can have healthy economies and a cleaner climate.

Another major issue Nahm raised is that governments’ green stimulus plans in response to the virus will likely be too small. Drawing evidence from previous crises, Nahm argued that there is little evidence that there will be a sustained climate push post Covid-19.

Circling back to the emissions topic, Nahm explained that Covid-19 is undermining globalization and that is bad for the battle against emissions. He spoke on the pushback on global economic integration due to Covid-19 and how this limits countries’ abilities to deal with the climate crisis. Nahm specified the need for global collaboration, especially collaboration with China, who have been taking the lead on innovation and supply of clean energy technology.

The webinar concluded with questions from attendees of the series.

Johns Hopkins Professor Jonas Nahm reviews past attempts to revive domestic economies through green industrial policy strategies and examines their prospects in the context of COVID-19.