Green economists have combined forces in an Oxford University paper to identify environmentally friendly public investments with quick positive economic effects. The authors, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, examined 700 stimulus policies enacted since 2008 and surveyed 230 finance ministers, central bank officials, academics and other experts from 53 countries.
Only five of 25 categories of stimulus spending had both positive climate impact and a high multiplier effect, the report said, meaning most recent stimulus measures either hurt the climate or helped the climate without spreading wider benefits, such as lasting jobs. When done right, the authors said green projects “create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spend and lead to increased long-term cost savings” when compared to traditional fiscal stimulus. Some of the most useful green investments overall were reported to be: clean energy, digital infrastructure and energy efficient building retrofits.