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The International Energy Agency (IEA) head has warned that we have six months left to change the path of the climate crisis and prevent a post-pandemic climate crisis of greenhouse gas emissions. As governments plan for economic recovery following the coronavirus, IEA chief Fatih Birol has issued a warning.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Birol, executive director of the IEA. Governments have already spent trillions of dollars to help economies recover from the shutdowns of the coronavirus. These stimulus packages will have a significant influence and impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate changes for the next three years.

“The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Birol told the Guardian. “If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.”

While emissions initially dropped during the early periods of the coronavirus lockdowns, they quickly went back to almost 2019 levels as parts of the world began to open up from lockdown periods. A report published by the IEA shared a blueprint for a “green recovery,” including jobs, energy generation and consumption. The report advised governments to focus on wind and solar power. Asia has continued to reopen and run coal-fired power plants, according to the IEA.

Jamie Peters, campaigns director at Friends of the Earth, said, “A post-Covid world must be a fair one. It will only be equitable if the government prioritises health, wellbeing and opportunity for all parts of society. As if the case was not compelling enough in a dangerously heating planet, it is even more urgent post-Covid.”

Read more about post-coronavirus recovery, including the new bill proposed by Democrats and data on greenhouse gas emissions in the National Hockey League.

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