Discussion of the government's green recovery plans continues following the summer economic statement
"Nature-based solutions" to climate change, for adaptation as well as mitigation, are becoming more prominent in recovery programmes
But globally the balance of recovery funding still leans heavily towards fossil fuels
Focus: "green recovery" (continued)
Discussion of the government’s last set of economic interventions continues. Despite anticipation of a ‘Rooseveltian’ green stimulus package in Boris Johnson’s ‘build build build’ speech and Rishi Sunak’s summer economic statement, the government disappointed both climate campaigners and experts with a recovery package that fell short of the scale and ambition they argued necessary to seriously address the climate crisis.
~~Business leaders once again urged the government to deliver a genuinely ambitious autumn budget if it is to live up to its rhetoric on unleashing a ‘green industrial revolution’ and placing it at the heart of its wider economic recovery plans.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has highlighted the importance of a circular recovery for achieving the UK’s net-zero targets; currently the government has failed to deliver on 14/21 climate progress indicators. The CCC suggested that recycling rates have ‘plateaued’ in England at around 45%, where improvement would require vital support for local authority investment in waste collection, re-use and recycling infrastructure.
Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) reports that a circular business model, which sees materials kept in circulation throughout the economy for as long as possible, will help the UK build back better by addressing structural employment across the country by fostering 500,000 jobs and injecting £75 billion to the economy, whilst avoiding 15m tonnes of CO2 emissions (the equivalent of taking ⅕ cars off the road).
Business Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma has stated that "nature based solutions" are a priority for international climate change action.
~~A coalition of major environmental charities and university environment departments have written to Sharma, outlining the importance of nature-based solutions to climate change, but stressing that they must operate on four principles: they must not substitute for fossil fuel phase-out; they must restore naturally occurring ecosystems; be implemented with the "engagement and consent" of Indigenous Peoples and local communities; and "sustain, enhance or restore biodiversity".
~~Natural England has updated its climate change adaptation guide, and argues that nature-based solutions are an essential part of action on climate change. The Conservative Environment Network has argued that “nature-based solutions” are cost effective approaches to revitalising natural biodiversity through protecting, restoring and expanding natural ecosystems, storing carbon and providing natural habitats for endangered wildlife.
~~Whilst nature-based solutions deliver a wide range of benefits to the UK’s ecosystem, leading climate scientists have concluded that “it is essential that enthusiasm for nature-based climate change mitigation does not curtail or distract from the urgent need to rapidly decarbonize our economy, including through radical systems change”
Leading medical journal The Lancet have established a Covid-19 Commission, chaired by economist Jeffrey Sachs, to “help speed up global, equitable, and lasting solutions to the pandemic.” It is expected to report regularly on emerging best practice in dealing with the crisis.
In response to the Covid-19 impact on the economy of Birmingham, CLES has developed The Birmingham Anchor Network Action Plan for joint action towards building a more equitable and inclusive city economy for both landuse and the local workforce.
Looking at companies in the UK, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson’s opinion piece in the FT calls for are-examination of the costs of labour in their business models, arguing that pay rises, training, and investments in employees eventually are positive for organisations.
Euractiv reports on gender equality issues in research & innovation (R&I), stating that the health response to the pandemic has ignored the gendered dimensions of socio-economic recovery, whilst sex and gender based differences are neglected in digitalisation, sustainability, and technology design.
Preet Kaur Gill’s opinion piece for Al Jazeera debates Boris Johnson’s decision to scrap the Department for International Development (DfID) – providing international life-changing services for millions – as a counterproductive economic and health measure in the midst of a global pandemic.
The Economist features a piece on the USA, Britain, and the Eurozone and their varied response to the pandemic-driven economic crisis by means of fiscal policy, posing the question of whether it is time to wind down stimulus packages.