The federal government has invested more than $3 trillion in stimulus measures to mitigate the COVID-19 emergency. But while the initial rounds of relief were instrumental in staving off the most disastrous effects of the pandemic, they failed to meaningfully constrain the power of large corporations, many of which fuel the climate crisis.

As argued in A Green Recovery: The Case for Climate-Forward Stimulus Policies in America’s COVID-19 Recession Response, all fiscal policy is climate policy. Even legislation that does not explicitly address climate change has the potential to dramatically impact emission levels, environmental health, and the structure of many key sectors of our economy—including fossil fuels. 

Future recovery dollars must come with significant guardrails to limit public investment in fossil fuel-dependent industries. At the same time, regulators should take full advantage of the laws and regulations already available to limit the climate impact of “non-climate” recovery spending.

Such policy involves:

  • Ensuring accountability in any stimulus funds that go to fossil fuel industries
  • Using existing authority to address Wall Street’s role in the climate crisis