With flights grounded, highways free of cars and animals taking back city streets it follows the pandemic should - environmentally - be a positive for the planet.
ANU's director of climate policy Frank Jotzo said reduced emissions were likely a temporary blip and there was potential for private industry to tighten purse strings in regard to sustainability.
"To the extent that private industry will slow down its investment in renewable power there is really a clear case for government to step in and keep that investment pipeline going," Dr Jotzo said.
He said renewable-energy supply, energy efficiency in housing, land management and transport projects like light rail, bike paths and footpaths were the most promising investments to drive a green economic recovery in Australia.
"As a Canberra-type proposition anything to do with building stuff in the local area is very attractive because it creates jobs very quickly," he said.