Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his 10-point plan to create jobs and cut carbon emissions. It included investment in wind and solar power, carbon capture, hydrogen and nuclear. But here’s a question – as Mr Johnson is driving emissions down, is his chancellor preparing to drive them back up? It’s a key issue as the PM strives for green credibility as he prepares the ground for the climate summit he’ll host this time next year. So far his plans have raised only two cheers. Campaigners starved of positive climate news applauded his 10-point approach to driving down emissions across society – from cars, to industry, power generation and home heating. But they complained that the sum allotted was paltry – just £4bn – way lower than “green” measures imposed by France and Germany to create jobs while cutting emissions. A Downing Street source told me the Treasury’s spending review would not increase that figure. That’s bad news for people concerned about the climate – but here’s worse… The Treasury has long been planning a £27bn programme of road-building that will actually increase emissions by attracting more cars on to the roads. It’s part of a long-term £90bn roads investment that appears to run contrary to the wish of even the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps for people to drive less to combat global heating. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stated that his priority is creating jobs and getting the economy back on its feet. But recent analysis suggests that the labour-intensive task of insulating homes, which reduces emissions, creates at least four times more jobs than highly mechanised road building. Using government data, the think tank e3g calculated that every job created in highly-mechanised road building costs the taxpayer £250,000, whereas a job in home insulation costs £59,000.
BBC 24th Nov 2020 read more »
Caroline Lucas: The world is burning. Sunak’s Spending Review needs to deal with that. We have heard a lot of promises on the environment from this Government in recent weeks – among them a huge expansion of wind power, a commitment to protect 30 percent of land for nature, and the launch of what Boris Johnson called a “green industrial revolution”. Ministerial, even prime ministerial, promises are one thing. Delivering them is another, and fine words or boastful ambition mean nothing if they are not followed up with funding. That’s why the Chancellor’s Spending Review must have a focus on climate and nature, not only to turn these environmental commitments into reality, but because this is a critical decade for climate action. The Government needs to put the UK on the path to meeting its climate targets and show that it is serious about addressing the climate and nature crises. With unemployment rising sharply and thousands of businesses at risk of failure because of Covid, this is the moment when to invest in a greener, fairer Britain, and to deliver the kind of future that people want after months of sacrifice. Research from Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has shown that investment in the green economy creates more jobs, delivers higher short-term returns on investment and leads to higher long-term cost savings compared to a traditional fiscal stimulus.
Left Foot Forward 24th Nov 2020 read more »
Climate Policy – Scotland
Climate change: Scottish government needs to be bold as time is running out – Fabrice Leveque. Next month the Scottish Government will publish an update to its Climate Change Plan. The government’s approach still falls short of what is needed and its official advisor, the Climate Change Committee, said last month that the upcoming plan “should set the foundations for a new era of climate change action in Scotland”. With all eyes on Glasgow in 2021 as the next UN Climate Conference, Cop26, comes to town, it’s all the more crucial that Scotland gets this right. A strong Climate Change Plan is how we do that. So, what does the Scottish government need to do to regain the initiative and show the world how climate action should be done? WWF has identified a toolkit of measures that could be implemented as part of the Climate Change Plan, that would cut emissions and boost the economy as the further impacts of Covid-19 are felt. Scotland’s agriculture sector is about to embark on a period of significant change as we leave the EU’s system of rural subsidies, providing an opportunity to reset and encourage more climate and nature-friendly practices. More action is also needed to complement recent Scottish government moves to accelerate the green retrofit of our homes and buildings. This will get much more public cash over the next five years, but we need a bold plan of action, with a legally binding target to bring all homes to a ‘C’ energy performance rating by 2030 and at least £500m invested in low-carbon heat networks over the next five years. The UK government’s 2030 announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the transition to electric vehicles, whose costs are expected to fall rapidly over the coming years. But government action is still needed to kickstart the change, however, and we’d like to see the Scottish government commit to creating zero-emission zones in our busiest city and town centres by 2030, to send a strong signal to vehicle owners alongside the incentives that are already available.
Scotsman 24th Nov 2020 read more »