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  • 29 Mar 2012
  • Matthias Finkenrath, Julian Smith, Dennis Volk
  • Pages: 46
Electricity generation from coal is still growing rapidly and energy scenarios from the IEA expect a possible increase from today's 1 600 GW of coal-fired power plants to over 2 600 GW until 2035. This trend will increase the lock-in of carbon intensive electricity sources, while IEA assessments show that two-thirds of total abatement from all sectors should come from the power sector alone to support a least-cost abatement strategy. Since coal-fired power plants have a fairly long lifetime, and in order to meet climate constraints, there is a need either to apply CCS retrofit to some of today's installed coal-fired power plants once the technology becomes available. Another option would be to retire some plants before the end of their lifetime. This working paper discusses criteria relevant to differentiating between the technical, cost-effective and realistic potential for CCS retrofit. The paper then discusses today's coal-fired power plant fleet from a statistical perspective, by looking at age, size and the expected performance of today's plant across several countries. The working paper also highlights the growing demand for applying CCS retrofitting to the coal-fired power plant fleet of the future.

In doing so this paper aims at emphasising the need for policy makers, innovators and power plant operators to quickly complete the development of the CCS technology and to identify key countries where retrofit applications will have the biggest extent and impact.

By moving goods and people over large distances, air transport facilitates international trade and tourism and thus contributes to economic growth and job creation. At the same time, it also comes with environmental challenges, largely related to air emissions and their impact on global warming. Air transport has been disproportionately negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with associated reductions in air emissions. However, recent projections show that, in the absence of accelerated technological developments and more ambitious policy measures, aviation-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will grow again at a rapid pace after the pandemic. This paper describes a new OECD database providing near-real-time and global information on aviation-related CO2 emissions, with allocations across countries following either the territory or the residence principle. This database provides a public good for both statistical measurement and environmental policy analysis. On the statistical front, it will facilitate the compilation of global Air Emission Accounts according to the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), bring granular and timely information on a significant source of CO2 emissions, and allow tracking their evolution during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The comparison with official statistics that are available with a significant delay and at lower frequency demonstrates the accuracy of the OECD estimates. On the environmental policy front, it is expected that the OECD database will help monitor the impact of technological developments and policy measures to curb aviation-related CO2 emissions in the future.

This paper describes the sources and methods used to estimate carbon emissions embodied in final demand and international gross trade for 65 economies over the period 2005-2015. Earlier OECD analyses of carbon footprints, accounting for global production networks, helped raise awareness of divergences between territorial and resident principles, and between production-based and consumption-based carbon emissions. Understanding the differences in these measures is important for governments to better understand and address greenhouse gas mitigation options. Thus, a new refined methodology was applied to allocate territorial emissions to production-based emissions (industries and households) using OECD Inter-Country Input-Output tables and International Energy Agency (IEA) CO2 emissions from fuel combustion statistics. In particular, this methodology introduces: 1) explicit distinctions between territorial and resident principles, economic output and final demand-based emissions and emissions embodied in gross imports and exports; 2) estimates by major fuel combustion sources; and 3) fuel purchases by non-resident industries and households.

Although the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities might still appear comparatively low in Africa than in other world regions, the looming health shock of COVID-19 could have disastrous impacts on the continent’s already strained health systems, and could quickly turn into a social and economic emergency. Beyond the immediate response, recovery strategies should include a strong structural component to reduce dependence on external financial flows and global markets, and develop more value-adding, knowledge-intensive and industrialised economies, underpinned by a more competitive and efficient services sector. Effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African Union’s productive transformation agenda can strengthen regional value chains, reduce vulnerability to external shocks, advance the digital transition, and build economic resilience against future crises.


With the pandemic as a backdrop, this note provides a selected, high-level picture of resilience in infrastructure. Dimensions of resilience are explored across the project life-cycle, from planning and designing, to construction, operations, and decommissioning. This builds an understanding of how infrastructure is interconnected and contributes more broadly to resilient communities, particularly in light of the impacts of COVID-19. While not exhaustive, this note focusses on examples and observations in recent months, and looks forward as to how infrastructure can contribute to a sustainable recovery, particularly regarding potential lasting effects from the pandemic and how infrastructure can be innovative, adaptive or regenerative.

This note first provides context by presenting high-level observations on the impact of COVID-19 in infrastructure. Aspects of resilience are briefly described such as physical, operational, financial, and governance, while broader considerations such as shifting demographics or technological change are also explored. This is followed by a section on how COVID-19 could impact infrastructure going forward.

The focus of this brief is on the policy responses that governments can and are taking through the channel of inter-governmental relations to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Sub-national governments are playing a crucial role in the current crisis, and past experience suggests they will need sufficient support to ensure they can confront the risks. Co-ordinated action across different levels of government is essential to ensuring that responses to the crisis are effective across all regions within countries


The COVID-19 pandemic placed unprecedented short-term stresses on food supply chains around the world. However, rapid responses by both private-sector actors and policy makers mostly managed to prevent severe disruptions. Yet, even before the outbreak of COVID-19, food systems were faced with a formidable “triple challenge” of simultaneously providing food security and nutrition to a growing global population, ensuring the livelihoods of millions of people working along the food chain from farm to fork, and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the sector. This paper discusses the stresses COVID-19 created in food supply chains and the remarkable resilience these supply chains have demonstrated in high-income countries, as well as specific impacts in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and the importance of transparency in avoiding a COVID-19 induced food crisis. The paper concludes by discussing the long-term challenges for food systems, arguing that the unanticipated shock of COVID-19 strengthens the case for shifting from ‘business as usual’ policies to a more forward looking policy package for food systems.

The COVID-19 crisis has triggered major disruptions for exchange rates and global capital flows. Cross-border portfolio investment stopped in many emerging markets as well as in some advanced economies in March 2020. Countries have not had to resort to capital controls. To support foreign currency liquidity, several emerging markets have intervened in the foreign exchange market and relaxed rules on capital inflows.

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, global food systems were faced with a formidable “triple challenge” of simultaneously providing food security and nutrition to a growing global population, ensuring the livelihoods of millions of people working along the food chain from farm to fork, and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the sector. Yet policy efforts have not been moving in this direction, and global trade in agriculture and food remains highly distorted. COVID-19 is compelling policy makers to make urgent decisions to ensure food supply chains continue to function, but the fundamental task is to address these immediate disruptions while also investing in the long-term goal of a resilient, sustainable and productive global food system.

This note addresses questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on global value chains (GVCs), focussing on economic impacts and consequences for the organisation of production networks. It discusses policies that can help to promote security of supply and ensure a sustainable economic recovery.

As in many countries, the economies of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) have been negatively affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Their governments responded by addressing the health impacts and providing relief to affected businesses and workers. Many EECCA countries have also implemented measures that will help advance environmental objectives as part of their rescue and recovery plans. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done to ensure that recovery plans accelerate a green transition, thereby building resilience against external shocks. This policy paper analyses measures related to COVID-19 in 11 EECCA countries based on their potential to advance the transition to a greener, climate-resilient and low-carbon economy. Recommendations suggest ways to ensure that governments align efforts to support economic recovery with their objectives on climate change, biodiversity and wider environmental protection.


In an unprecedented global health crisis, trade is essential to save lives and livelihoods; and international co-operation is needed to keep trade flowing. In the midst of significant uncertainty, there are four things we can do: boost confidence in trade and global markets by improving transparency about trade-related policy actions and intentions, keep supply chains flowing, especially for essentials such as health supplies and food, avoid making things worse, through unnecessary export restrictions and other trade barriers and even in the midst of the crisis, think beyond the immediate. Government support today needs to be delivered in a way that ensures it serves the public interest, not vested interests, and avoids becoming tomorrow’s market distortions. OECD is working with other IOs to support governments through timely and objective evidence and analysis to inform policy choices.

Portuguese, German

During COVID-19 lockdowns it became visible that migrants are often important in sectors that are crucial for the functioning of everyday life. Informed by this experience, this note provides an assessment of the role of foreign-born workers in essential services (referred to as migrant key workers) at regional level for 31 European countries. It examines the share of migrant key workers in regional labour markets, their importance in jobs with different skill requirements, and differences between EU and non-EU migrants. Migrants play a crucial role in health care, where 23% of doctors and 14% of nurses are foreign-born. In cities such as London or Brussels, around half of all doctors and nurses are migrants. Overall, capital regions have the highest share of migrant key workers (20%). Similarly, cities rely more on migrant key workers than other areas, especially in low-skilled occupations where migrants make up 25% of workers.


The management of multilateral fish stocks is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted the operations of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), which have jurisdiction over fish stocks that either straddle the exclusive economic zones of several countries or are predominantly in the high seas. This is largely because of reduced monitoring, control and surveillance capacity due to limitations imposed on the operations of observer and surveillance programmes and the challenges of decision making in virtual meetings. A survey undertaken in July 2020, to which 13 RFMOs and nine OECD members responded, reveals that: i) over two-thirds of RFMOs have reduced in-person and on-board observation of vessels, increasing the opportunity for unscrupulous operators to engage in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing; and ii) almost all (92.3%) RFMOs surveyed have experienced disruption to their regular scheduled meetings and 84.6% reported disturbance to regular decision making. Nonetheless, on a positive note, the COVID-19 pandemic may spur the uptake of new technologies for virtual meetings and the monitoring of fishing activities.

This note, prepared by the OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct, reviews the challenges the COVID-19 crisis presents for business behaviour and outlines initial responses by governments and companies. It describes the rationale and method for adopting a responsible business conduct approach to address the crisis and sets down the potential short-term and long-term benefits of such an approach.

Spanish, German

The dramatic drop in demand for passenger air transport (and freight, to a lesser extent) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures is threatening the viability of many firms in both the air transport sector and the rest of the aviation industry, with many jobs at stake. While the aviation industry has often been a target of government policies, the COVID-19 crisis has precipitated a new suite of loans, loan guarantees, wage subsidies and equity injections, raising concerns about competition and the efficient use of public resources. To promote a sustainable trajectory for the aviation industry, government policies should prioritise sector-wide measures and competition.

Spanish, French

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis that is already having devastating impacts on the world economy – both directly and through necessary measures to contain the spread of the disease. These impacts are also being felt by the food and agriculture sector. While the supply of food has held up well to date, in many countries, the measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus are starting to disrupt the supply of agro-food products to markets and consumers, both within and across borders. The sector is also experiencing a substantial shift in the composition and – for some commodities – the level of demand.

How damaging these impacts turn out to be for food security, nutrition and the livelihoods of farmers, fishers and others working along the food supply chain will depend in large part on policy responses over the short, medium and long term. In the short term, governments must manage multiple demands – responding to the health crisis, managing the consequences of the shock to the economy, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the food system. While the pandemic poses some serious challenges for the food system in the short term, it is also an opportunity to accelerate transformations in the food and agriculture sector to build its resilience in the face of a range of challenges, including climate change.


The focus of this brief is on the immediate steps that governments can take to ensure that emergency measures implemented to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis do not derail their efforts to address pressing environmental challenges and improve the environmental health and resilience of societies.

The retail sector is of paramount importance across OECD countries. It operates as a gateway to consumers from upstream sectors, accounts for almost 5% of GDP, and employs about 1 in 12 workers. COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted the sector, with the shock differing massively between brick-and-mortar versus online shops, essential versus non-essential stores, and small versus large retailers. This document lists five policy measures that countries need to take now for the benefit of firms, workers and customers to shield the retail sector from the effects of the crisis and enhance its resilience.

Spanish, Japanese, French

This brief takes stock of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality in the region and highlights gender-sensitive measures and initiatives taken by governments, the private sector and civil society to mitigate the impact of the crisis on women. It asserts that the COVID-19 crisis is a watershed moment for gender equality in the MENA region and an opportunity to rethink women’s role in the economy and society. The region’s long-term recovery will depend on its ability to fully leverage the potential of both its men and women.

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