Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment

Using coronavirus stimulus packages to enhance climate action

Conference to discuss opportunities for transformation after the coronavirus crisis

Die Erde aus dem All.Click to enlarge
Our planet's climate is changing.
Source: Philipp Schilli /

Stimulus packages amounting to billions of euros have been and are being launched worldwide to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus crisis. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (UBA) consider these programmes an opportunity to set the course towards a more sustainable society by planning a resilient and viable economic recovery. At today’s Sustainability Transformation Conference organised by UBA and the BMU, international experts will be discussing how to shape and achieve a socially just and ecological transformation of economy and society.

Federal Environment Minister Schulze said: “We want to emerge from the coronavirus crisis stronger than before. The right way forward is to combine economic stimulus with effective climate action. The German government's stimulus package therefore places a clear focus on investments for the future. We need to support our economy and our workforce through the process of environmental restructuring, preparing them to meet the challenges of the future. This is why we need exchange at international level as well.”

Dirk Messner, UBA President, commented: “The coronavirus pandemic is not over yet. But because of the vaccine that has been announced, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. There is, however, no end in sight for the climate crisis. We have to make sure now that the coronavirus stimulus package promotes a sustainable and viable economy. We must act quickly and decisively to mitigate climate change and advance sustainability. At our conference, we want to discuss how we can achieve this.”

UBA analysed 130 national and international studies and found that there is broad consensus about sustainable stimulus programmes being both effective and necessary. The key is to embed them in an overall concept of structural reforms that creates the necessary framework for a socio-ecological transformation. Social aspects, too, need to be considered.

In its position paper Sustainable Pathways out of the Corona Crisis, UBA examined the economic and social distortions caused by the Covid19-pandemic. According to UBA, one key objective is to direct the necessary short- and medium-term coronavirus financial aid in a way that also promotes the required long-term changes towards a sustainable and climate-neutral society. “If we pursue this course, we will not lose sight of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030,” said Messner.

At the conference Socio-ecological transformation on the fast track - Covid-19 as catalyst of change? on 19 November 2020, national and international stakeholders and experts will discuss the transformation of economy and society for a sustainable future. The aim of the conference is to consider the different perspectives of politics, business, science and civil society and develop potential measures to advance the transformation.

The conference is taking place online today. You can view the English language live stream here.

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