India and Brazil—two of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world—also have the second- and third-highest number of COVID-19 cases. Both are facing pressure to launch recoveries after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

Will they backslide on their Paris Climate Agreement commitments, or will the expected return of the United States to the pact provide some needed encouragement to treat the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to build a more sustainable economic future?

With the right support, both Brazil and India could leverage their displaced workers, many of whom work in the informal economy, to fuel a green recovery.

India and Brazil face tremendous climate change risks to food security, access to shelter, and the livelihoods of their most vulnerable communities. Both also have large informal labor markets: Around 80 percent of India's 500 million labor force and close to 40 percent of Brazil's 100 million–plus labor force are estimated to be employed in the informal sector—meaning their jobs have no contract and often provide low pay, unsafe working conditions, and no social safety net.

India's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement includes a pledge to reduce carbon emissions by over a third by 2030 (from 2005 levels), as well as a commitment to 40 percent of power generation from renewable sources.

Similarly, Brazil pledged to halt illegal deforestation as well as embark on significant forest restoration by 2030.

Drawing on previous work that has examined this issue, we identified three ways India and Brazil might reskill a portion of its informal workforce to fuel a more environmentally sustainable economic future and fundamentally change the trajectory of global climate change.

Read the full article about post-COVID climate efforts by Louay Constant and Troy D. Smith at Rand.