It is ironic that while the government talks a good game, it risks falling grievously behind Britain’s competitors in one of the growth areas that will define the future. The progress made towards a post-Covid-19 green recovery for Britain is proceeding at a snail’s pace. By contrast, Germany, France, South Korea and others have unveiled plans that will pump vast amounts of government money into developing a low-carbon economy. Last month, Berlin announced a £9bn national hydrogen strategy, which it sees as a route to decarbonising transport and core domestic industries, and achieving global leadership in a new sector. Britain has yet to show anything like the same level of environmental ambition. Renowned climate experts such as Nicholas Stern and Lady Brown of Cambridge, the chair of the Carbon Trust, would like to see the establishment of a new green investment bank to generate some momentum and confidence. Lord Stern estimates that about £20bn worth of public money would be needed to set one up. This would be a certain catalyst for major private investment; one recent report estimated that £5bn in public funds could attract up to £100bn in private capital for green projects. The energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, has declared his support for the idea. But following parliamentary recess, no decision seems likely before Rishi Sunak’s autumn statement. According to the Committee on Climate Change, Britain is manifestly not on course to meet its legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The committee chair, John Gummer, told a government inquiry that this was because the “radical things’ that needed to be done to shape a green recovery were not being done. A properly funded and ambitious green investment bank could be a gamechanger. Mr Barclay’s “new radicals” should get to it.
Guardian 28th July 2020 read more »