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A unique chance to steer the economy away from carbon

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Getting economies back on their feet calls for investment in climate-friendly infrastructure that boosts growth and creates new jobs
   
May 21st 2020 Read in browser
   
  The Economist this week  
 
  Highlights from the latest issue  
   
 
     
  cover-image   
     
  Our cover this week calls for a global effort to tackle climate change. Covid-19 creates a unique chance to steer the economy away from carbon at a much lower financial, social and political cost than before. Rock-bottom energy prices make it easier to cut subsidies for fossil fuels and to introduce a tax on carbon. The revenues from that tax can help repair battered government finances. The businesses at the heart of the fossil-fuel economy—oil and gas firms, steel producers, carmakers—are already going through the agony of shrinking their long-term capacity and employment. Getting economies back on their feet calls for investment in climate-friendly infrastructure that boosts growth and creates new jobs. Low interest rates make the bill smaller than ever. The world should seize the moment.  
 
  Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-In-Chief  
     
 
  Editor’s picks  
 
  Must-reads from the current edition  
 
 
 
After lockdowns
The cure and the disease

Lockdowns are a blunt instrument that can cause immense harm. Social distancing should be more discriminating
Leaders
 
 
 
Immaculate misconceptions
The latest American salvo against Huawei is designed to hurt Chinese chipmaking

It may push the industry out of America, too
Business
 
 
 
Lexington
Joe Biden’s good pandemic

The Democratic champion looks a better candidate holed up in his basement than he did on the trail
United States
 
 
 
Peak London
The wheel turns

For three decades, London was in the ascendant. Now it may have gone into a covid-accelerated decline
Britain
 
 
 
Schumpeter
Closing time

Farewell for now to a golden age of drinking
Business
 
 
 
Buttonwood
Why you need to read Jane Austen to appreciate perpetual bonds

It takes a 19th-century perspective to see the merit of consols
Finance & economics
 
 
 
A genocide suspect faces trial
Félicien Kabuga, Africa’s most wanted man, is arrested

But questions remain about how the Rwandan evaded the law for so long
Middle East & Africa
 
 
  The world this week
 
     
  At the World Health Organisation’s annual summit (held remotely), China accepted an Australian-led motion calling for an inquiry into the origins of covid-19. This marked a climbdown by the Chinese government in the face of widespread demands for such a probe. Earlier, Donald Trump once again threatened to pull America out of the WHO unless it took unspecified steps to show “independence from China”. Despite its success in tackling the coronavirus, Taiwan was not invited to this year’s meeting.
 
     
  More from politics this week  
     
  SoftBank reported an annual net loss of ¥962bn ($8.8bn), mostly because of bad investments its Vision Fund made in WeWork, Uber, Didi and other tech firms. The Japanese conglomerate might not pay a dividend to shareholders for the first time since becoming a public company in 1994. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese internet giant, is to step down from SoftBank’s board as a director, an unexpected departure from a position he held for 13 years. SoftBank was an early investor in Alibaba and may use its stake in the company to fund a share buy-back programme.
 
     
  More from business this week  
     
 
  In case you missed it  
 
  One of our most popular stories from the past seven days  
 
 
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Daily chart
The coronavirus may have peaked in America

The number of new cases appears to be declining. But will there be another peak?
 
 
  From Economist Radio  
 
 
 
Babbage
Kawasaki disease—how does the coronavirus affect children?

Our weekly podcast on the science and technology making the news. Also this week: America’s latest offensive against Huawei, and could covid-19 bring about “peak fossil fuels”?
 
 
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