Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Energy & climate change

What do economics students see as today’s biggest challenges?

Word cloud from 2020 undergraduates Read more

#economicsfest: How can Bristol and the West of England ‘build back better’?

The pandemic is an opportunity to return to something better than ‘normal’, both nationally and in individual cities and regions. Just as Covid-19 has had varied effects across the UK, the recovery process could give local policy-makers the chance to shape the revival.

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#economicsfest: What future for farming and the food supply chain?

The UK’s agriculture sector faces multiple challenges to which it must adapt quickly – including Brexit, Covid-19 and environmental degradation. Higher public spending and agricultural policy reforms offer an opportunity to re-evaluate our approach to the countryside.

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What kind of economy do people want if we ‘build back better’ after Covid-19?

Many people are debating whether the pandemic offers an opportunity to return to something better than ‘normal’ – in particular, moving away from using GDP growth as the sole indicator of progress. Developing greater economic and social resilience should be central to ‘building back better’.

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Can the UK achieve net-zero emissions in a post-Covid-19 economic recovery?

Getting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change to ‘net-zero’ by 2050 will require significant technological advances. How can that ambitious goal still be achieved while ensuring employment and growth in the aftermath of coronavirus?

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Can recovery from Covid-19 help transition to a zero-carbon economy?

There are many calls to use recovery from the Covid-19 recession to assist with the ‘climate transition’ to an economy in which emissions are no longer causing global temperatures to rise. Should policy on climate change and the aspiration for ‘zero-carbon’ be modified?

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Does environmental damage increase the risk of pandemics?

It has become painfully obvious that humanity has not conquered the threat of infectious diseases. Future health risks may interact with other risks of environmental degradation – including from pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change – to threaten food security and potential global catastrophe.

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How will coronavirus affect the UK’s oil and gas industry?

The oil and gas sector is wrestling with the dual shock of Covid-19 and substantial falls in the oil price, some of which predated the crisis. What are the implications for the industry – and for exploration and development activity in the UK continental shelf?

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Is this a good time to pursue environmental objectives?

Pre-crisis, the government committed to reaching ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050, safeguarding biodiversity and implementing a 25-year environment plan. These goals are no less important now: policy can be set both to boost the recovery and achieve longer-term environmental objectives.

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Can policy steer us towards a greener and fairer recovery?

By acting fast, coordinated policy can create jobs and steer a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. The alternative of a prolonged global depression and unmanaged climate change would be profoundly damaging.

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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