Even for rich countries, the road to economic recovery from coronavirus will be a steep one. For emerging markets, it will be steeper still. High debt, disruptions to foreign investment, and weaker social safety nets will make them more vulnerable. Increased unemployment and a fall in remittances from migrant workers will add to the pressure.
Given such headwinds, it may seem only reasonable for developing countries to set aside their plans to reduce carbon emissions. Isn’t survival the priority — and shouldn’t advocates of environmental sustainability discreetly step aside? On the contrary: recovery and, for that matter, long-term prosperity go hand-in-hand with sustainability.