As the months have passed, data has begun to pile up that will in time form an important ranking. It will show which countries — and companies — are using this crisis to deepen the drive against fossil fuels and which are not. With at least $10tn in stimulus measures announced so far, a few entries on the green side of the ledger already stand out. Predictably a lot are in Europe. Electric cars should be cheaper and easier to charge under France’s €8bn auto sector recovery plan. Air France is set to slash domestic flights and cut its overall emissions as a condition of its €7bn bailout. The EU says green policies will be central to its €750bn recovery plan. But Europe is not alone. Canada’s bailout money for big employers will only go to firms reporting climate risks to their business, using disclosure standards that have been largely voluntary until now. If this paves the way for those standards to become widespread and mandatory, it could help shift billions of investor dollars to greener ventures and firms. Against this, the Trump administration is rolling ahead with efforts to reverse US environmental safeguards and the picture is mixed in China and many other countries.
FT 7th June 2020 read more »
At the heart of the unfolding debate about Britain’s once crowded urban centres lies a pedestrian problem. Most of our pavements are not wide enough. The current demands of social distancing can only rarely accommodate snaking queues of shoppers keeping two metres away from each other outside supermarkets and pharmacies, while passing walkers struggle to find space without stepping into busy roads. In London, Manchester, Bristol and other cities, pavements are already being extended into car lanes where long lines of plastic barriers are shrinking the road space for cars. Busier shopping streets in smaller places such as Harpenden, Bishop’s Stortford and St Albans, all in Hertfordshire, have been temporarily pedestrianised — to the joy of campaigners who had fought without success for 20 years or more to close town centres to cars.
Times 7th June 2020 read more »