In his message to the recent Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the foreign secretary, speaking on behalf of the prime minister, said: “There is no choice between cutting emissions and growing economies. That’s a myth the UK has helped to shatter over the past decade. This dialogue is not a distraction from the immense challenge the pandemic presents but an essential element of our strategy to rebound from it.” Not long ago this would have been seen as an extraordinary thing for a government to say, but it is absolutely right. Clean, low-carbon ambition is not at odds with economic growth but crucial to it. I am what could be described as a climate positivist. Climate change presents a real and significant threat, but we as humans have the ability, through technological advancement and endeavour, to tackle it. Indeed, much of the technology required to cut carbon emissions exists already and I am delighted that the government has been embracing it. Supporting the roll-out of a large network of rapid electric vehicle chargers is an example. We need to fund industries where job creation will be fast and sustainable, and ones that we know will boost the UK in the next decade. Renewable energy is one such industry. The sector supports roughly 250,000 jobs, according to the ONS. The falling cost of renewables means that new wind and solar farms are the cheapest way to add generating capacity. In 2014 coal accounted for 30 per cent of British electricity; wind and solar just 11 per cent. Now the figures are reversed, with renewables generating nearly 40 per cent last year and coal a bit part player. More remarkably, energy bills have fallen over the same period.
Times 27th May 2020 read more »
A commission of cross-party MPs has added to the calls for the UK to prioritise and deliver a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that £30bn should be spent on a climate-focused recovery that also establishes a £5bn national Just Transition Fund. The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission published recommendations this morning (27 May), calling on the UK Government to “go faster, further and fairer” to deliver a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Commission has been set up to explore the net-zero transition in the UK. Notably, it is focused on how the transition could improve societal and environmental issues, such as the protection of nature and improving wellbeing for citizens. The co-chairs of the commission are Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Laura Sandys, a former Conservative MP.
Edie 27th May 2020 read more »