Focus on green recovery

Financing climate action in regions and cities

Spotlight on green recovery measures

Green spending has risen, but is it enough for a sustainable recovery?

How much greener are the latest budgets?

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Where is the money going?

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What can governments do?

ENSURE GREEN JOBS & GROWTH

BUILD BACK BETTER

ACCELERATE A LOW-CARBON TRANSITION

STRENGTHEN BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION

ENHANCE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

The plastics pandemic

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How can we invest in green infrastructure?

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08/11/2022
Understanding adults’ attitudes towards the environment is necessary to gauge the opportunities and challenges of creating effective and politically-feasible climate policies. Using data from the Wellcome Global Monitor 2020, the European Social Survey (Round 8), World Values Survey and EM-DAT, this paper examines how adults’ environmental attitudes vary within and across countries and details how environmental attitudes are associated with adults’ engagement in pro-environmental behaviours and support for environmentally-friendly policies. The paper explores whether the extent to which individuals prioritise the environment over the state of the economy or vice versa depends on individuals’ exposure to natural disasters or negative labour market conditions. Results indicate that people’s economic vulnerability and the sectors they work in impact their attitudes towards their environment and support for public policy. Furthermore, the findings suggest that increases in unemployment and exposure to natural disasters influence the extent to which individuals prioritise the environment.
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07/11/2022
There are major gaps in the measurement of the adoption and stringency of countries’ climate actions and policies, notably in a manner coherent across countries, time, sectors and instrument types. The climate actions and policies measurement framework (CAPMF) aims to fill this gap. It is a structured and harmonised climate mitigation policy database that informs about countries’ climate action. The CAPMF was developed under the International Programme for Action on Climate (IPAC). It comprises 128 policy variables, grouped into 56 policy instruments and other climate actions, covering the 52 countries participating in IPAC and the period 2000-2020. The CAPMF is the most comprehensive internationally harmonised climate-related policy database currently available. Results indicate that IPAC countries strengthened their climate action between 2000 and 2020 in terms of both policy adoption and policy stringency, although individual countries progressed at different paces. Policy mixes in many countries changed from cross-sectoral to a more sectoral focus and from non-market to market-based approaches. Importantly, results suggest a positive relationship between stronger climate action and greater emissions reductions but further analysis is needed to fully assess policy effectiveness.
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02/11/2022
This paper explores what the first global stocktake (GST1) under the Paris Agreement could usefully do in relation to two elements of its mandate on adaptation, namely, to review the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation, and to enhance the implementation of adaptation action. This paper also discusses potential outputs from GST1, and how they could facilitate the intended outcomes of the process on adaptation, taking into account a learning-by-doing approach. This paper highlights that a comprehensive collective assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation requires data that is currently not available for various reasons. Nonetheless, this paper finds that the GST’s ability to incorporate learning and its scope for continuous improvement provides an important opportunity to develop, apply and refine approaches and methodologies over time to better address the GST’s mandate on adaptation in subsequent cycles. The paper concludes that the GST1 process could help to inform and enhance Parties’ adaptation efforts by identifying priority data needs and gaps, increasing understanding of different approaches to assessing adaptation actions, identifying enabling factors for effective adaptation, and building linkages with parallel processes including on the Global Goal on Adaptation. In this way, the GST1 could play an important role in helping to set a foundation for improved approaches and data on adaptation over time that can feed into future GSTs and support the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.
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02/11/2022
“Authorisation” is a new but as yet undefined component of the guidance for implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Authorisation is important as it triggers both corresponding adjustments and reporting requirements. This paper identifies and analyses open questions related to what is authorised, by what process, for what purpose, the format and timing of authorisation, and how any ex-post changes to authorisation can be made. The answers to these questions can affect the attractiveness for Parties and the private sector to participate in Article 6 cooperation. The paper also outlines areas of Article 6.2 guidance that could be usefully clarified at the international level, and implications of different options for the domestic implementation of Article 6 authorisation provisions, drawing from examples of a few frontrunner Parties who have already established bilateral agreements and domestic structures for international cooperation under Article 6. The paper concludes that some of the open questions could be clarified at the international level, such as how to report any changes to authorisations and if the authorisation needs to be provided concurrently by the participating Parties. Other questions could be clarified at the national level by the participating Parties providing the authorisation. These include whether participating Parties can choose to include additional elements in their authorisations, and which roles authorised entities could play.
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02/11/2022
Water infrastructure investments are typically capital-intensive and long-lived, involving significant costs and benefits. Their performance over operational lifetimes is highly dependent on the vagaries of the hydrological cycle and subject to the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change. The challenge is to make the best use of scarce financial resources to deliver desired water services in the context of these complicating factors. Ideally, planning for water-related investments should be robust to known hazards and flexible to adapt to an uncertain future. This paper presents a conceptual and analytical framework to sequence water-related investments along “Strategic Investment Pathways”. This approach considers a range of diverse investments over multiple scenarios and evaluates options relative to stakeholder-defined goals. It explicitly considers key dynamic processes, interdependencies and feedbacks within the water system. The aim is to inform investment decisions that contribute to water system resilience through effective and adaptive management over time.
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23/06/2022
This annual report monitors and evaluates agricultural policies in 54 countries, including the 38 OECD countries, the five non-OECD EU Member States, and 11 emerging economies. It finds that the continued rise in agricultural support has been slower than sector growth in recent years, but has been driven to record highs mainly by temporary factors. The share of general services to the sector (including innovation and infrastructure) in total support provided to the sector has decreased to 13%. This year’s report focuses on the potential for agriculture and agricultural policies to contribute to climate change mitigation. It argues that short-term agricultural policy responses to global crises must simultaneously address current challenges and support reforms to combat climate change and distortions in international markets.
22/06/2022
Public investment is a key policy lever to tackle the big challenges faced by society – climate change, demographic trends, digitalisation, and economic and other shocks. Investment helps to lay the foundations for future economic prosperity and well-being in our cities and regions. It can also help to reduce inequalities, adapt places to megatrends, enhance resilience and mitigate the impact of shocks. As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, and already face a new crisis following Russia’s large scale aggression against Ukraine, existing commitments of public investment to support the recovery provide an important opportunity to address current and future challenges. Rising to this occasion calls for effective public investment by all levels of government.
08/06/2022
This report provides an overview of the main trends and issues related to the implications of climate change for corporate governance. It focuses on economic, legal and accounting issues related to shareholder rights, corporate disclosure and the responsibilities of company boards. Importantly, this report informs the ongoing review of the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance which help policy makers evaluate and improve the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for corporate governance.
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08/06/2022
Teachers play a crucial role in our response to the global climate crisis. But how can teachers help all learners develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will enable them to exercise agency and take individual and collective climate action? From July 2021 to December 2021, the OECD, UNESCO and Education International ran the Teaching for Climate Action Initiative. The main highlights of this initiative are presented in this brief.
08/06/2022
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are significant actors across sectors that account for substantial sources of global greenhouse gas emissions, such as energy, transportation and infrastructure. To counter this, increasing numbers of state owners are incorporating environmental and climate-related goals in their SOE portfolios. These efforts go hand-in-hand with broader international commitments and an increasing awareness that governments as enterprise owners should “lead by example”. Using data collected from 32 jurisdictions, this report describes national approaches towards promoting climate change and low-carbon transition policies in SOEs based on the OECD Guidelines for Corporate Governance of SOEs.
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10/05/2022
Pharmaceutical household waste from expired or unused medicine does not only offer zero therapeutic benefit, but also contributes to environmental pollution when disposed of via improper routes. Medicines discarded in sinks and flushed down toilets enter sewage waters and, if not filtered out, leak into aquatic systems. Disposal of unused or expired medicines via solid household waste can also result in pharmaceutical residues entering the environment if this waste is illegally dumped, or destined for landfills. In addition to environmental risks, unused or expired medicine not only constitutes wasted healthcare resources, but also presents a possible public health risk of accidental or intentional misuse and poisoning if extracted from waste bins. Preventing pharmaceutical household waste and ensuring the effective collection and environmentally sound treatment of unavoidable waste is thus an important policy objective. This report provides an overview of available data on pharmaceutical consumption and disposal practices across OECD countries, reviews existing collection schemes and provides recommendations to best prevent, collect and treat unused or expired medicines in order to avoid their leakage into the environment.
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03/05/2022
Despite years of donor country engagement, developing countries’ efforts to fight climate change and its consequences remain stifled by important capacity gaps. This paper reviews the experience of development co-operation partners in strengthening capacities in this area. It provides an in-depth analysis of official development assistance trends and flows, as well as an overview of the enabling factors, obstacles and good practices. Finally, it suggests ways to overcome a number of technical, political and organisational challenges, and to accelerate capacity development for more effective climate action in partner countries.
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21/04/2022
This new web format for Environment at a Glance Indicators provides real-time interactive on-line access to the latest comparable OECD-country data on the environment from the OECD Core Set of Environmental Indicators – a tool to evaluate environmental performance in countries and to track the course towards sustainable development. The web version allows users to play with the data and graphics, download and share them, and consult and download thematic web-books. These indicators provide key messages on major environmental trends in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, water resources, air quality, circular economy and ocean resources. They are accompanied by a short Environment at a Glance report that presents a digest of the key messages stemming from the indicators.
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21/04/2022
This Policy Brief provides the key findings and policy insights from the April 2022 update of OECD Green Recovery Database, which tracks recovery measures with a clear environmental impact adopted by OECD member countries, the European Union and selected large economies. Since the previous update in September 2021, the budget allocated to environmentally positive measures increased from USD 677 billion to USD 1 090 billion, while recovery spending with ‘mixed’ impacts increased from USD 163 to 290 billion. The Brief also explores how well-designed green recovery plans can generate the double dividend of enhanced energy security and better environmental outcomes, in the face of energy security concerns triggered by the war in Ukraine.
20/04/2022
This report highlights recent initiatives to inspire policy action at a time when innovation leadership by the public and private sectors is critical to meeting the net zero challenge. Countries around the world strive to become home to the next major company emerging from a start-up with a disruptive clean energy invention, and with good reason. Whilst aiding innovation in support of climate and energy goals, nurturing innovative start-ups to maturity can also create local economic prosperity because clean energy transitions will be a major market opportunity for all countries, all century long. Already, the number of government policy measures to help start-ups get new clean energy technologies to market has risen sharply since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. This is extremely encouraging given that energy technology start-ups continue to face challenges attracting patient capital and governments possess some unique resources to speed them through the phases to reach technical maturity while staying in business. Based on 14 detailed case studies and in-depth interviews, this report presents a range of impressive policy measures from a variety of different country contexts, and identifies eight key insights for effective policy to support clean energy start-ups.
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20/04/2022
Trade in plastic waste and scrap plays a potentially important role in helping to strengthen markets for recycled plastics as it can help to achieve economic efficiency through for instance economies of scale. But such trade has also been criticised for leading to plastic pollution when recipient countries lack capacity to treat such waste in an environmentally sound manner. This report aims to identify and assess trends in trade patterns of plastic waste and scrap in the context of recent policy developments, particularly the strengthening of controls applied in the context of the Basel Convention, which came into force at the beginning of 2021. One of the findings is that OECD Member Countries continue to make up a significant share of global trade in plastic scrap and waste (89% of global reported exports and 67% of global reported imports by weight), but that the trade surplus has continued to shrink, as well as the overall volume of trade.
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18/03/2022
Accounting for nearly 40% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and sometimes as much as 70% in large cities, buildings and construction are central to the low-carbon transition. Decarbonising buildings, especially the old stock, through energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy use, not only reduces carbon emissions, but also generates co-benefits in health, energy affordability and the labour market. Additionally, global mega-trends and the transition to a green recovery from COVID-19 provide impetus for stakeholders to take action. Cities and regions have a key role to play and can leverage prerogatives in regulation, public procurement and stakeholder engagement, while addressing multiple governance, capacity and funding gaps. To accelerate and scale up their action, cities and regions need to work with national governments to create an effective governance mechanism. Drawing on the findings of a dedicated survey of cities and regions of all sizes from both OECD and non-OECD countries, this report explains their significant role, explores sub-national policy measures, identifies key obstacles, and provides policy recommendations and a checklist for both national and subnational governments to drive the decarbonisation of buildings in cities and regions.
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17/03/2022
Illicit trade in counterfeit goods causes economic damage by reducing sales and profits as well as innovation incentives in legitimate industries. At the same time, some counterfeits can be of low quality and create significant additional risks, including health risks (fake pharmaceuticals or food products), safety risks (counterfeit automotive spare parts, fake batteries) and environmental risks (fake chemicals or pesticides). This study presents detailed information on the value of counterfeit trade in such dangerous fake goods, analyses changes in the volumes and composition of the goods, and maps key trade routes. The evidence in this report can be used to raise awareness of the risks of this trade and its implications for health and environmental policy.
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14/03/2022
As countries implement stricter environmental policies, the need for tools to compare countries’ environmental policy stringency is becoming more pressing. The OECD Environmental Policy Stringency (EPS) index has become a widely used tool for policy analysis since its creation in 2014. This paper updates the EPS index over three decades from 1990 to 2020, across 40 countries and 13 policy instruments, focussing on climate change and air pollution mitigation policies. It up-grades the index structure across all years, adding a new sub-index that measures the strength of technology support policies, which complements the existing structure of market based and non-market based sub-indices. The paper shows evolving developments – across countries and time – in the stringency of environmental policies.
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10/03/2022
This brief focuses on the role carbon pricing can play in the COVID-19 recovery and in reaching national and international climate goals, such as those in the Paris Agreement. It outlines the carbon pricing policy changes (Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS), fossil fuel support (FFS), carbon, fuel excise and aviation taxes) that took place during the first 20 months of the pandemic (January 2020 to August 2021) in the 47 OECD and G20 countries. There had been 99 incidents of carbon pricing policy changes during this period, with the majority expected to have a negative effect on greenhouse gas emissions. However, policy changes with climate-positive effects were broader in scope regarding coverage of emissions and sectors and are, thus, likely to outweigh the climate-negative policy changes.
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