A group of major British business leaders, including top executives from Iceland, Ben & Jerry’s, and The Body Shop, have today called on the government to embrace a green recovery as it prepares to take tentative steps to ease the nationwide lock-down. An open letter signed by 18 businesses, more than two dozen environmental groups, and a number of public figures, is urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to build a more resilient economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis by investing in green infrastructure, technology, and skills, and ruling out bailouts of polluting industries that fail to present credible decarbonisation plans.
Business Green 8th May 2020 read more »
The warnings are stark. With the Covid-19 crisis wreaking global havoc and the overheating atmosphere threatening far worse in the long term, especially if governments rely on the same old carbon-intensive ways, both economy and climate will sink or swim together. “There are reasons to fear that we will leap from the Covid-19 frying pan into the climate fire”, says a new report, Will Covid-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on Climate Change? Published by the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, UK, it says now is the time for governments to restructure their economies and act decisively to tackle climate change. “The climate emergency is like the Covid-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver”, says the study, written by a team of economic and climate change heavyweights including Joseph Stiglitz, Cameron Hepburn and Nicholas Stern.
Climate News Network 7th May 2020 read more »
The former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has added his voice to calls for industrialised nations to invest in a greener economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. He shared his comments in an online discussion about climate change with the former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. Both called on nations to accelerate a transition to cleaner energy. The event was organised by the Policy Exchange think tank. Mr Carney said that the pandemic was “a terrible situation, but there was also a big opportunity” at the end of it. “We have a situation with climate change which will involve every country in the world and from which we can’t self-isolate,” he added.
BBC 7th May 2020 read more »
Times 8th May 2020 read more »
Not one, not two, but three thought-leadership pieces have been published this week on packages of measures that governments will take post-Covid19, and the extent to which those packages should be consistent with climate change targets. On Tuesday a group of academic economists led by Oxford University’s Cameron Hepburn published a paper pointing out that decisions governments make this year will be critical in determining whether they meet the targets they set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Its conclusion: ‘Recovery packages that seek synergies between climate and economic goals have better prospects for increasing national wealth, enhancing productive human, social, physical, intangible, and natural capital.’ The following day, the UK’s statutory adviser, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), published a formal letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining principles around which it believes stimulus funding should be designed, together with some ideas on areas where money could usefully be directed. Shortly after that, the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), an international body including academics alongside representatives of companies such as Shell, BP and Dalmia Cement, issued ‘Seven Priorities to Help the Global Economy Recover’ – principles that would see both government and private money flow into areas such as cutting energy waste, expanding electric transportation and renewables, including proposed conditions that governments should set on uses of bailout funding. In the 12 years that it has been deploying emission-cutting measures under the overall aegis of the Climate Change Act, per-capita GDP has grown faster than any other member of the G7 and emissions have come down further. The average energy bill has fallen, and employment has risen. Still… for all governments, the biggest priorities are going to be short-term job creation and economic return. This week’s three publications have started to make the argument. But there still seems to be a shortage of hard evidence in the public domain capable of persuading doubtful policymakers that ‘green’ measures are genuinely better on those short-term, non-green criteria.
ECIU 7th May 2020 read more »