“Once in a lifetime” opportunity on climate change
by Will Roderick
What's Going On Here?
In its latest annual progress report, the independent advisory group, The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), has called for the UK government to “seize the opportunity to make the COVID-19 recovery a defining moment in tackling the climate crisis”.
What Does This Mean?
Back in 2019, the UK committed to a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In the subsequent year, the UK has failed on 14 out of 21 progress indicators. It would seem that climate policies that have been introduced lack the ambition needed to meet the net zero challenge.
The report also sets out the committee’s five principles for a “green recovery” from COVID-19, which would generate the necessary jobs, resilience and prosperity to build back from the pandemic.
Why Should We Care?
“It would be a double tragedy from the COVID nightmare if this opportunity were missed”. - The Committee on Climate Change, 2020
This week, Prime Minister Johnson announced the UK’s ‘New Deal for Britain’, which outlines the government's plan to bring the UK out of COVID-19 economic recession. Perhaps most noticeable is the absence of the word ‘Green’ and the predominantly infrastructure-based investment plan has drawn criticism from leading voices in the UK’s green economy.
The new deal lacks sufficient targeted actions for decarbonisation, whilst also omitting any mention of carbon pricing, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or a comprehensive approach to tackling transport emissions. There are also serious shortfalls in investments in building retrofit investments, a vital measure for addressing the UK’s building emissions, which currently account for 40% of UK emissions. Just £1 billion of funding has been made available to retrofitting schools, estimated to require up to £23 billion for schools to hit net zero by 2030.
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