The severe economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for governments to make their economies more environmentally friendly, according the chief economist of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“Now that recovery plans are coming along, we should make sure that enough ambition is implemented to change the sustainability of our economy to make it greener, to make it with better infrastructure,” Laurence Boone, who is a former economic advisor to French government, told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of appetite for change. It’s a unique opportunity to actually do this change, or make this change happen.”

Boone’s comments come on the heels of the OECD’s latest economic forecast, which sees the global economy shrinking by about 4.5 per cent this year, less than the six per cent previously anticipated, due to “massive” government interventions.

However, Boone said while governments around the world have helped prop up their economies during the pandemic, they’re not offering enough support for clean energy initiatives.

“I don’t think it’s the time to try and blame and shame. I think we should be fiercely looking at the future. We should be focusing on this recovery plan,” she said. 

“And one of the things we’ve observed, globally, is at the moment, when government is supporting energy, more than 50 per cent of this support is not targeted at [making changes] for cleaner energy.”

“I think we’re seeing that worldwide, whether on the American continent, the European, or Asian one.”