The advice comes after the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released a publication titled Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament. The report gives a comprehensive list of ideas on how to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis using the green economy through an expedited transition to a cleaner, net-zero emission economy, which would bolster the country’s potency against climate change.
The report urges the government to move steady-fast in the coming months to commence the green economy, building a resilient economic recovery against the pandemic, by so doing, propelling the UK into a fast progress to changing the effects of climate change and position the country as an international climate leader ahead of the pivotal COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.
Based on the report, achieving the UK’s climate goals while building a greener economy will deliver an improved economy and better public health with greener and sustainable biodiversity and highly productive and rewarding employment.
Lord Deben, the Chairman of CCC, said that when the UK is floundering through the biggest economic shocks, the world faces a climate change crisis. However, he believes the pandemic has presented an opportunity towards an accelerated transition to a successful and low-carbon economic recovery while improving the country’s climate resilience.
Before releasing the Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress to Parliament report, the committee had already written a letter to parliament advising on best practices in creating a net-zero economy.
The report expanded on these principles adding five investment priorities achievable in the next five months:
- Green retrofits for buildings and green infrastructure- the idea is to transform major structures such as hospitals and new housing to become more energy and water-efficient. This will lead to upskilling of the workforce and create a new job market and employment opportunities. The committee suggested a need for a national plan from the government in supporting and helping launch this initiative.
- Tree planting and peatland restoration. Investing in sustainable flora and greener will allow the UK to reach its Net Zero target.
- Energy networks must be strengthened for the net-zero energy transformation to support the electrification of transport and heating. The report encourages the government to implement the right regulatory framework, encouraging private investors to invest in cleaner energy technologies such as hydrogen and strengthening carbon capture storage (CCS). At the same time, it recommends fast-tracking more investments in making electric vehicle charging points accessible in order to phase out traditional transport fuels (petrol and diesel-fueled cars) by 2032 or earlier.
- Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely.
- Moving towards a circular economy – an economy that encourages recycling while also preventing the creation of biodegradable products. More investments need to be made towards waste management to ensure the reduction of emissions while creating new greener jobs.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE is the chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) based in London. Her comments on the report were the following:
- The committee of climate change have the to hold the UK goverfnment to account for lack of progress been made towards UK’s Net Zero targets.
- The release of the data from the UK government shows that there has been a growth in renewable energy.
- The UK government needs to make sure we get the Green Recovery right from the onset.
“Businesses, MP’s, Ministers and the British public are calling for the transition to a green economy to be accelerated and the Government have the opportunity to do this whilst supporting the economy.”
The Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association (STA) Chris Hewett welcomes the valuable contribution that onshore renewable can make to UK’s green economy which will also produce high quality jobs within the country. He also said, “The Committee rightly points out that other forms of generation are more carbon intensive and expensive too. If we are to emerge from this crisis with a renewed economy that is geared towards net zero, the UK needs to rapidly shift to low cost, reliable, and job-intensive technologies like solar.”