As the world went into lockdown, the human impact on the natural world began to ease. Nature was given an opportunity to bounce back. Emissions in the UK dropped by 31%, we saw air quality improve, biodiversity systems flourish, and our wildlife given the chance to roam a little freer; enjoying the breathing space of a quieter world.
None of this is a silver lining to the devastation the virus has caused, but it has re-highlighted the climate change challenge we face and reopened our eyes to issues that have been swept under the carpet for too long. The Committee on Climate Change heralded 2020 as the year of climate action to get the Net Zero agenda on track so we can hit the 2050 legally binding target. It is clear that in order to keep hold of the short term benefits we have experienced during lockdown and to hit the looming target, we need to develop practical policy solutions to harness these positive changes and ensure they are sustainable and resilient in the long-term.
We need a Green Recovery.
There are clear initiatives and approaches the Government should support to both accelerate the decarbonisation agenda whilst refuelling the economy in the recovery of this crisis.
- Creating Net Zero homes by improving energy efficiency; phasing out inefficient gas boilers, retrofitting and increasing electric heat networks.
- Improving and investing in our Digital Infrastructure; supporting those who can and enjoy working from home.
- Implementing a green fiscal rule which properly puts a high price on carbon emissions, incentivising businesses and individuals alike to make the switch to cleaner and sustainable power.
- Outlining a new clean industrial revolution, allowing the UK to lead the charge on electric vehicles as well as creating new skilled, sustainable jobs.
The Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group, ran by DevoConnect, works to accelerate policy change, promote zero carbon solutions, support clean growth technology and ultimately embed the UK’s commitment to deliver a Net Zero carbon economy. It provides a unique and dynamic forum for MPs and Peers of all parties to work collectively and make the case for urgent Government action to secure a low carbon future for the UK.
Calls for change to our country’s climate action are being vocalised more and more. Last week, MPs from the Environmental Justice Commission (EJC) called for the UK Government to invest an additional £30billion a year in green projects, ensuring a greater effort is made to cut our emissions by 2030.
This sentiment was shared by the Committee on Climate Change, who in May wrote to the Prime Minister advising there should be a clear focus on low-carbon work programmes when the Government start to get people back to work after lockdown; generating new jobs, protecting the climate and ensuring ‘a fairer economy for everyone’.
With the Resolution Foundation estimating that coronavirus could increase youth unemployment by 600,000, the time is now to teach and skill the younger generations on the low carbon economy to build towards a better and brighter future.
Lockdown has allowed us to see and feel the real changes that could and should be made to tackle climate change in the UK. It’s provided a real opportunity to build back better and revaluate the importance of our nature.
The time is now for bold action.
DevoConnect is the Secretariat for the Net Zero APPG
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