Can we tackle both climate change and Covid-19 recovery? Yes — Choices made now will shape the global economy for decades to come The most consequential question looming over us right now is not whether we can address the Covid-19 crisis and climate change at the same time, but rather whether we can afford not to do so, writes Christiana Figueres. No — Carbon taxes and green policies harm economic growth and jobs. The close relationships between real gross domestic product, employment and energy consumption for both less and more developed economies mean that policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions would reduce economic growth and employment. The reason is straightforward: they would increase the cost of conventional energy sharply, writes Benjamin Zycher.
FT 7th May 2020 read more »
The Covid-19 lockdown has cut climate change emissions – for now. But some governments want to go further by harnessing their economic recovery plans to boost low-carbon industries. Their slogan is “Build Back Better”, but can they succeed? In a poll, a fifth of members of the motoring group the AA, said they would work more from home in future. This has implications for the UK government’s £28bn road-building programme which assumes that traffic will rise by 1% per year – a conjecture that now looks unlikely. The stay-at-home trend will be offset somewhat by nervous public transport users shunning trains for fear of infection, and by long-distance commuters who might decide that if they only need to visit the office three days a week, they’ll buy a home even further away. The AA, which for years was seen as the voice of motorists, has asked the government to think again about its £28bn road expansion. Its president, Edmund King, has suggested the money would be better spent on improving broadband
BBC 6th May 2020 read more »
Low-carbon infrastructure must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery to provide jobs and economic security, with fairness embedded throughout. This is the key message in a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today (6 May). It outlines six resilience principles the UK should pursue, including supporting reskilling, retraining and research, building a climate-resilient economy and scaling up housing retrofits and build new homes that are fit for the future. One of the major principles focuses around investing in low-carbon, resilient infrastructure. This in particular has been welcomed by the solar industry and the energy industry at large, which can play a central role in the development of infrastructure and job creation. The Solar Trade Association’s chief executive Chris Hewett said the government must make sure it doesn’t miss this “golden chance to place renewables at the heart of the recovery”. “Solar and energy storage in particular offer swift, job-intensive opportunities for growth, with average ground-mount sites able to be built in a few months, and rooftop installations often taking only a day or two. There is an 8GW pipeline of solar projects ready to be unlocked.”
Solar Power Portal 6th May 2020 read more »
Mayors from many of the world’s leading cities have warned there can be no return to “business as usual” in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis if humanity is to escape catastrophic climate breakdown. City leaders representing more than 750 million people have published a “statement of principles”, which commits them to putting greater equality and climate resilience at the heart of their recovery plans. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City and one of the signatories to the statement, said: “Half-measures that maintain the status quo won’t move the needle or protect us from the next crisis. We need a new deal for these times – a massive transformation that rebuilds lives, promotes equality and prevents the next economic, health or climate crisis.” In Greater Manchester, council leaders have unveiled plans to give more space for people walking and cycling across the region. With £5m of funding from the mayor, local authorities are planning a range of measures from extending pavements to creating one-way streets, removing through-traffic from residential neighbourhoods and building extra cycle lanes. Last week, mayors from cities in Europe, the US and Africa held talks as part of a newly formed C40 economic task force. They agreed to coordinate efforts to map out plans to support a low-carbon, sustainable recovery from the crisis.
Guardian 7th May 2020 read more »
Liam Byrne is the Labour candidate for West Midlands mayor and is chairman of the Global Parliamentary Network of the IMF and World Bank: Who wants to go back to what we had before? A carbon-pumping, planet-warming economy of yawning inequalities. No thanks. We don’t want a restoration. We want a reformation with a plan that is big, bold and green. That means using the kick-start to put the heart of Britain, the birthplace of the carbon revolution, on a fast track to zero-carbon. It means a huge expansion of cheap solar energy, a huge expansion in green homebuilding, converting offices which may not be needed to beautiful affordable homes. It means a big new investment in metro-lines, electric buses and hydrogen trains; and it means speeding up HS2 which could be the single biggest construction project in the region.
Times 7th May 2020 read more »