This week’s confirmation the UK is to set a legal target to slash its emissions by 78 per cent against 1990 levels by 2035 is what President Biden would call a BFD. Whichever way you cut it, it is a truly transformational goal. It cements the UK’s position as a global leader in decarbonisation, it will unleash waves of new climate policy and low carbon investment, and it means that before a child starting school this year has graduated the country will be more than three quarters of the way towards building what could be the world’s first net zero emission economy. Biden’s famously sweary declaration that “this is a big fucking deal’ was sparked by the passage of Obamacare – an historic victory for Democrats for sure, but a partial one that failed to trigger the wider reforms the US healthcare system so desperately needed. The UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget is part of an encouraging global trend that enjoys unparalleled cross-party support. But the details on how it will be achieved remain murky, and if anything yesterday’s announcement managed to muddy them further. Number 10’s statement stressed that “the government will look to meet this reduction target through investing and capitalising on new green technologies and innovation, whilst maintaining people’s freedom of choice, including on their diet”. It added that “that is why the government’s Sixth Carbon Budget of 78 per cent is based on its own analysis and does not follow each of the Climate Change Committee’s specific policy recommendations”. What does that mean? They land on the same number, but how then does the government’s internal analysis of what can be achieved through the Sixth carbon budget differ from the CCC’s calculations? Why is the government reluctant to follow the CCC’s specific recommendations? Which policy proposals does it have a problem with? It sounds suspiciously like the government has identified a ‘magic decarbonisation tree’ to help it meet its targets that the CCC has not yet thought of. Could this new approach allow the government to avoid politically difficult decisions on diets, buildings, boilers, and coal mines on the understanding various techno-fixes will ride to the rescue in the early 2030s?
Business Green 21st April 2021 read more »
The Government has committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 78 per cent by 2035, compared to 1990 levels. That has implications for how we travel, what we eat, and how we heat our homes. The legally binding pledge puts the UK at the forefront of emissions targets among leading economies, and comes ahead of a climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden on Thursday. It means a 58 per cent cut over the next 15 years, according to analysis by the website Carbon Brief, and will require changes to the way we heat our homes and travel, and what we eat. For the first time, the UK will also include emissions from international aviation, which could cause a rise in air fares.
Telegraph 21st April 2021 read more »
Boris’s big green gamble risks fuelling a new Brexit-style revolt against the elite. If new technologies fail to arrive, No10’s eco plan will devastate the living standards of the Tory base. Some early hints of the sort of Brexit-style revolt he could eventually face can be spotted in the most unlikely of places: in London and other cities, large numbers of residents are up in arms against so-called Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Invented by No 10 and backed by Sadiq Khan and other hopeless technocrats, these idiotic schemes have shut certain streets to cars without consultation in the name of reducing emissions, with the predictable consequence of ruining residents’ lives and horribly increasing traffic (and pollution) on other roads. The Conservative base wants a cleaner environment – who doesn’t? – and is moderately worried about climate change but those issues are low down their list of priorities. They certainly don’t want their lifestyles to suffer for it. It is equally true that a green agenda, however extreme, will not convert metropolitan Remainers or woke agitators to the Tory cause. But a botched anti-consumer green agenda will infuriate the very voters that propelled Johnson to No 10, and, paradoxically, create space for a late 2020s Ukip or Brexit-style Party focusing on a new set of issues. And who will pay for insulating 30 million homes? Who will stump up for converting gas boilers to electric heating or to heat pumps? Consumers won’t tolerate a green poll tax of £20,000 per home. If the Red Wall is Johnson’s River Styx, and Brexit his ambrosia, green utopianism is our Prime Minister’s Achilles’ Heel.
Telegraph 21st April 2021 read more »
HM Treasury has today (22 April) published the results of its two-year review on how the financial system must change to support the net-zero transition, recommending changes to tackle greenwash, empower consumers and properly prepare government departments for future costs. The review was first commissioned by former Chancellor Philip Hammond and has been running for some two years. Its purpose was to assess the ways in which policy packages, government funding, government processes and the private sector can support the net-zero transition, minimising costs and risks while ensuring benefits are maximised and fairly shared. The latest report from the inquiry, out today, praises progress to date but states that there is still much work to be done. Specific recommendations relate to reducing greenwashing while empowering the regions and sectors most affected as a priority.
Edie 22nd April 2021 read more »
MPs have called on the government to introduce climate labels on all financial products and step up efforts to tackle ‘greenwash’ in the finance sector in a new report that sets out a series recommendations for how the Treasury can better enable the UK’s decarbonisation agenda. In the report, MPs on the Treasury Committee called on the government department and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to launch a consultation on making ‘green’ labels mandatory for financial products, noting that any inquiry should look into how a ratings system could be used to encourage innovation and be widely understood by retail customers. The document, entitled Net zero and the future of green finance, also urges the Treasury to give the FCA the power to tackle ‘greenwash’ around consumer-focused financial products, noting the mislabelling of funds or products as ‘sustainable’ could mislead customers and result in the misallocation of capital.
Business Green 22nd April 2021 read more »
Investment funds and other financial products should have “green labels” to help consumers assess their impact on the climate, according to MPs. The Treasury select committee said that the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority should consult on making labels mandatory and take steps to prevent “greenwashing”, when consumers risk being misled by products presented as greener than they are.
Times 22nd April 2021 read more »
WHEN it comes to climate action, Boris Johnson’s Global Britain is far more slogan than substance. With the UK Government hosting the most important COP26 summit of the century in Glasgow in November, this is not a good look. Nor does it give the impression of being in charge or taking responsibility to secure real climate action from global leaders. While the USA and China work to create consensus and co-operation on the most pressing and urgent crisis of our time, there’s a growing impression internationally that the UK is merely watching on from the back row, more spectator than vision-focused or proactive host.
The National 22nd April 2021 read more »