April 22, 2020

Laurie van der Burg, laurie [at]
Hannah McKinnon, hannah [at]

New briefing: Facing COVID-19, Governments Must Prioritize Building Resilient Societies over Fossil Fuel Bailouts

A new briefing from Oil Change International makes the argument for a managed decline of the oil and gas sector as an essential part of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the only right response to the industry’s collapse. The briefing argues that governments now face a choice whether to invest in a green and just recovery that protects and creates long-lasting jobs, resilient economies, and accelerates climate action or one that bails out the fossil fuel industry. It details the do’s and don’ts for governments in their response to the current health, economic, and climate crises.

Key recommendations from the report include: 

  • Ensure national and international equity and a just transition is at the heart of any government response to the current crisis.
  • Protect workers and communities affected by the crisis, including those in the oil and gas sector, and create long-lasting green jobs by investing in resilient infrastructure and emerging low-carbon industries that will continue to create jobs for decades to come.
  • Impose production caps as part of a plan for a managed decline of the sector.
  • In some circumstances, bringing the fossil fuel industry into public ownership, if paired with a clear plan for a managed phase-out of the sector, could be the most straightforward path to ensure a just transition for workers and communities.

Laurie van der Burg, Senior Campaigner and briefing author notes:

“We can waste a lot of public money trying to revive a dying and polluting industry that will not deliver on recovery whilst endangering climate goals. Instead, this is the moment to accelerate progress in green industries, whilst supporting workers and communities through the transition. Boosting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and mass public transit creates jobs and healthier societies that are more resilient to future crises. This is a crucial moment for governments to show they are here to protect people’s health and safety, not polluters.”