John McDonnell – Labour’s shadow chancellor: As the government continues to flounder, it is essential that Labour begins to put in place the policies needed not just to rebuild our economy but to secure sound public finances for future generations. The biggest single future challenge for our economy is in the steadily accumulating threat of climate change and environmental degradation. Already, this is costing us dearly: the Environmental Agency now puts the annual bill from floods at £2.2 billion a year, and, with credible forecasts showing worsening weather conditions, this has been projected to rise as high as £12 billion. But it is not just climate change, with all the evidence pointing to a clear link between human activity and changes in the earth’s climate. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation now forecast that we have only 60 years of farming left globally due to soil erosion. In the UK, 85 per cent of top soil has been eroded since 1850. The Committee on Climate Change has warned that once-fertile land in the east of England could be lost “within a generation”.
Times 15th Nov 2017 read more »
Britain’s fiscal watchdog would be required to forecast the economic impact of climate change on the public finances under a Labour government, John McDonnell is to announce.
Independent 14th Nov 2017 read more »
The Treasury’s carbon tax has propelled Britain into the top 10 of a global low-carbon electricity league table faster than any other country, igniting calls from the clean energy industry for the upcoming budget to keep the support in place. The fresh research shows that Britain has climbed from a 2012 ranking of 20th out of 33 industrialised countries to 7th on the low-carbon electricity league table. The top 3 include Norway and Sweden, which use vast amounts of hydropower, and France, which relies mainly on nuclear power generation. Britain’s 13 place leap in just four years is the fastest ascent of any country, according to Imperial College London, which authored the report. “Britain is reducing its carbon emissions from electricity faster than any other major country, and this has happened because the carbon price and lower gas prices have forced coal off the system – the amount of coal-fired power generation in Britain has fallen 80pc between 2012 and 2016,” said Dr Iain Staffell, from Imperial College London. The tax, known as the carbon price floor, was introduced in 2013 to charge fossil fuel power plants for their carbon emissions. The market-based measure is currently set at £23 a tonne of carbon until 2020 and is designed as a “top up” to the European emissions trading system, which has languished at £5 a tonne on the Continent over much of the year.
Telegraph 15th Nov 2017 read more »