COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented reduction in demand for energy for transportation and electricity, a crash in prices and employment in the fossil fuel industries and record-breaking reductions in global carbon emissions. This paper discusses whether this “demand destruction” could spell the beginning of the end for fossil fuels or a temporary recession and the imperative to recover from the current crisis by “building back better” and not the same as before. There are encouraging signs for the renewable energy industry that could make COVID-19 a cloud with a silver lining; whether this is the case will depend not only on the technological realities and social response to the crisis but also on political will and foresight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Carbon emissions
  • Creative destruction
  • Renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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