Green India Beyond COVID-19: Insight from Gina McCarthy

Co-Authored with Jessica Korsh

NRDC President and former US EPA Administrator, Ms. Gina McCarthy spoke with business leaders across India during the recent Economic Times Leadership Forum. The main message: economic and public health challenges exacerbated by COVID-19 present countries with a tremendous opportunity to invest in a sustainable clean energy future. In addition, as air pollution levels are rising in India, emerging research shows that exposure to higher air pollution can increase the COVID-19 death rate.

Ms. Gina McCarthy

The link to the forum discussion is here: https://timestsw.zoom.us/rec/share/J2YJD7FrDi1wwvS6G7cYab-lnNNpHG0lr7q3RVBQlX4mPwpiaNWCS2WOabF-jPg.G4-4aC3SBz35lqG1

Highlights from the Economic Times Discussion

Ms. McCarthy stressed that now is the time to invest in a clean energy future and create jobs that keep us healthy. It is not the time to continue to ignore science and invest in fossil fuels, which created the climate crisis. Clean energy jobs are key to a COVID-19 economic recovery and enable us to build better for future generations.

“Decades of not listening to the climate scientists has created a humanitarian crisis – not for future generations, but for all of us here now. It is more than melting ice caps and starving polar bears in far off places, it affects the health and economic livelihood and of every human being.” – Gina McCarthy  

Ms. McCarthy highlighted the role of the private sector in transitioning to a green economy. She emphasized that the private sector is critical because it sends signals to the marketplace. While the public sector can send a signal, the private sector needs to turn that signal into real business commitment for a growing economy. It is also important to transform some marketplaces to ensure that economic issues can be resolved by the private sector and not just by public signal setting and investment.

Ms. McCarthy said that the government’s job is to create possibilities for businesses to be successful in a marketplace that brings sustainable economic growth and healthier populations. 

India’s progress on climate change remains strong, despite COVID-19 and the ensuing economic slowdown. The economic downturn and related stimulus needed to rebuild in India present an opportunity to support investment in sustainable infrastructure.

About the Authors

Anjali Jaiswal

Senior Director, India, International Program

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