Mukanjari S, Sterner T
Environ Resour Econ (Dordr) - (-) 1-29 [2020-08-04; online 2020-08-04]
Should the economic recovery from the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) be green? The current crisis is so severe that we should not take the answer for granted. It requires serious thought and we start by reviewing some arguments for and against a green approach. A crucial element is of course to see how different industries fare in the current crisis. Our empirical contribution is to examine daily stock returns for firms from the STOXX Europe 600 index. We find that firms with higher carbon intensities experienced significantly large decreases in stock values particularly those within the crude petroleum extraction, air transport and coke and refined petroleum industries. Our tentative conclusion is that efforts to revitalize the economy should avoid subsidizing stranded assets and instead target the industries of the future. However, identifying these will not necessarily be easy. We find, for example, that having an official ESG "climate change policy" has no effect on firm performance during the pandemic. We suggest possible ways of designing a new form of more informative index.