What will the United Kingdom need in order to rebuild after the pandemic: policies that concentrate on strengthening the economy, or that give priority to the environment with a green Covid-19 exit instead? A recent opinion poll has found clear support for putting the environment at the heart of the post-Covid-19 economy recovery from across the UK. YouGov, the British market research firm, asked a nationally representative sample of 1,654 UK adults to read one of two political speeches written specifically for the poll. Participants were then asked about the speech they had read. One speech argued that economic reconstruction must have the environment at its heart. The other insisted that the pandemic’s economic damage is so bad that giving the environment priority is currently unaffordable. The report’s first author was Ben Kenward of the UK’s Oxford Brookes University. It has not been peer-reviewed, but has been published as a pre-print, a version of a scientific manuscript posted on a public server prior to formal peer review, by Dr Kenward and a colleague from the University of Amsterdam. Dr Kenward said: “The headline result of this study is not only that 62% of the UK population are positive about seeing the economy at the heart of post-Covid economic recovery, but also that this number is the same when focusing on Conservative voters − 62%.”
Climate News Network 28th May 2020 read more »
Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd: Mobilising a Zero Carbon Army. All young people are going to be hit by the Covid recession, but non-graduates more so, because a large proportion of those get their start in retail and hospitality which have both been badly hit. Martin Moore who is director of the Centre for the Study of Media Communication and Power at Kings College in London, has suggested establishing a Youth Environment Service. Every 18-25 year old would have an opportunity to spend a year working on an environment projects to help address the climate crisis. This could cover 5 areas: protecting – flood defences and insulating house; restoring – removing plastic, restoring derelict land; exploring – technological research sustaining – planting trees; supporting those already damaged.
Reasons to be Cheerful 25th May 2020 read more »
The UK government should invest at least £30 billion in a green recovery from COVID-19, according to thinktank IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission. This should initially be invested into “shovel-ready” green projects in order to help generate jobs, it said in a new report. The commission suggested investing in the electric vehicle (EV) charging network as a beneficial area, alongside various energy efficiency measures, including a national programme of home insulation.
Current 28th May 2020 read more »
A new report from global analyst firm McKinsey has found that recovery packages from the coronavirus pandemic will be decisive in putting the world on course to meeting the Paris Agreement, calling for low-carbon technologies and solutions to be prioritised. The new McKinsey report warns that as nations ease out of lockdown measures, it is a “use or lose it moment” for the global economy and the battle against climate change. McKinsey is calling for low-carbon stimulus spending to spur economic recovery and job creation, while stepping up climate efforts that put the world on course to limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C. Just one day after the European Union confirmed that 25% of its €750bn recovery package would be spent on climate action, McKinsey claims that funnelling finance towards low-carbon sectors could deliver economic returns for nations.
Edie 28th May 2020 read more »
Boris Johnson has given his clearest indication yet that the UK government will push for a green and climate resilient recovery to the looming recession, arguing today that “we owe it to future generations to build back better” after the coronavirus crisis. Officially announcing the UK’s intention to delay the crucial COP26 climate change summit until November 2021, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of international cooperation for tackling major crises, and called for a “fairer, greener and more resilient global economy” after Covid-19. “If we are to defeat Covid-19, achieve a global recovery, and avoid a future pandemic, then we must work together across borders,” he said in a short video recorded for today’s UN Financing for Development virtual meeting. “Our national efforts will count for little unless they are fortified by international cooperation.” Johnson said that at present the most urgent tasks facing the world are stabilising the economy and developing a vaccine to Covid-19, and stressed that the UK was providing significant funding to support these international efforts. “But once we move beyond the emergency phase, we owe it to future generations to build back better and base our recovery on solid foundations, including a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy,” the Prime Minister added. “The UK will take this forward by hosting the UN climate change conference in Glasgow next year.”
Business Green 28th May 2020 read more »
Timing matters. Early 2020 saw an economic collapse the likes of which have not been seen in living memory. Growth has collapsed, unemployment has soared, poverty has increased. Yet in different circumstances the past few months would have been dominated by calls for countries to do more to cut carbon emissions. As 2019 drew to an end, everybody from the managing director of the International Monetary Fund to the governor of the Bank of England was warning of the threat of global heating. A year of floods, hurricanes and bush fires had made a strong case for action to make economies more sustainable. What was lacking was a profound shock that would make change possible. Now we’ve had one. Governments are creating, borrowing and spending money like never before in peacetime, in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. They have the opportunity to reshape their economies in a way that would be consistent with preventing catastrophic increases in global temperatures. Businesses are already learning lessons from the lockdown, such as that modern technology no longer makes it essential for an executive to travel half way round the world for a business meeting, and that employees can be just as productive working from home as they can when sat in expensive set-piece city centre offices.
Guardian 28th May 2020 read more »