Letter: Greta Thunberg is right to call out governments for failing to deliver on their climate commitments (‘Hypocrites and greenwash’: Greta Thunberg blasts leaders over climate crisis, 9 November). A league table ranking G20 OECD countries on their effectiveness at phasing out fossil fuels, published this week by ODI, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and Oil Change International, placed the UK last. While the UK talks tough, its agencies have continued to plough public funds into fossil fuels. Despite the mantras of tackling the climate crisis and building back better, £30.9bn of its Covid-19 recovery funds has been committed to fossil fuel industries. The UK denies that it provides any fossil fuel subsidies based on its own narrow definition, showing a serious lack of transparency. No G20 country is performing as it should – G20 countries together spent $584bn a year on fossil fuels between 2017 and 2019, and this trend is continuing. With the UN climate summit taking place in Glasgow next year, the UK must urgently move its green recovery and climate leadership from rhetoric to reality.
Guardian 10th Nov 2020 read more »
As the government gears up to release its National Infrastructure Strategy, Green Alliance warns current plans will not nearly suffice. Major gaps in the UK’s infrastructure plans compounded by a severe lack of public investment in key areas must be urgently addressed if the government is to avoid locking in environmentally damaging economic activity long into the future, Green Alliance has today warned. The influential environmental think tank said a ‘net zero test’ should be applied to all government policy and infrastructure decisions, or else the UK risks derailing its decarbonisation ambitions by greenlighting new roads, waste incineration facilities, and inefficient buildings that will make it significantly harder to meet binding net zero emission goals. The government is under growing pressure to unveil a host of long-awaited green policy plans and frameworks before the end of the year in order to help businesses mobilise a new wave of investment in net zero-compatible infrastructure. A new Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy have been in the pipeline for months, while wider measures designed to put the UK on track to meet its medium and long term emissions goals are also awaited. Independent advisory body the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has repeatedly made clear that the government should place its 2050 net zero target and nature restoration ambitions at the heart of its forthcoming strategy in order to avoid locking-in high carbon infrastructure. And now Green Alliance has ramped up the pressure further, warning that a fresh infrastructure strategy is urgently needed, as the current approach could badly undermine the net zero transition. Specifically, it points to a £11.4bn gap in investment in net zero infrastructure during the current financial year alone across transport, buildings, the circular economy, and natural infrastructure such as trees, peatland, and habitats. The report warned that without action the investment gap is set to grow to £13.5bn a year by the end of 2022.
Business Green 11th Nov 2020 read more »