This post was originally published by Business Green.
The government is right. The way we heat our homes needs to change if we are to reach net zero.
Over 85 per cent of UK homes are currently heated using fossil gas and this accounts for around 16 per cent of total UK emissions. But getting those emissions down to zero is shaping up to be one of the most politically difficult parts of the government’s decarbonisation agenda.
This post was originally published by City A.M.
Some truisms are worth repeating: the Treasury is powerful. Unlike its counterparts overseas, the Treasury in Britain is able to set policy for economic development and control government spending. This power, however, is also an impediment on progress. It is one of the slowest Whitehall departments to change its ways and is holding back the government’s green agenda.
This post is by Anna Sands, trade policy specialist at WWF-UK.
In the past few weeks, a “ferocious” battle has taken place in the cabinet around whether a ‘zero tariff zero quota’ trade deal should be agreed with Australia. With trade secretary Liz Truss on one side, and environment secretary George Eustice on the other, the internal conflict has played out loudly across national and international media.
This post is by Jonathan Tench, international partnerships and networks adviser at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.
Try and write about Wales and climate change without referencing coal. It’s impossible to avoid how coal, steel and slate forged modern Wales. Industrial emissions in South Wales account for over a tenth of the UK’s current carbon footprint. But, with this week’s announcement that Wales intends to make coal history, it’s Wales’ future path to net zero that is now unavoidable, due to a unique and world leading law which applies long term planning to protect current and future generations.
This post is by Nick Robins, professor in practice for sustainable finance at the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute, and Ciara Shannon, director of EdenWorks
Cumbria is a county with a strong industrial heritage and unrivalled natural assets. But it has also attracted international notoriety for the county council’s decision to approve plans to open the new Woodhouse Colliery. The decision is widely seen to be wholly incompatible with the UK’s climate objectives: the Climate Change Committee (CCC) states that “a new coking coal mine in Cumbria will increase global emissions and have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets”. More than this, the colliery risks becoming a stranded asset, as the use of coking coal in steelmaking could be displaced completely by 2035, according to the CCC. This means that any economic benefits in terms of regional revitalisation and jobs would be fragile and short lived.
This post is by the Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee.
This week, all eyes will be on the chancellor’s budget, where he will decide which fiscal and monetary levers to pull to revive the economy from its greatest contraction in over three centuries. It is crucial that the measures materially help the goal of net zero Britain.
This post is by Jan Rosenow and Louise Sunderland of the Regulatory Assistance Project.
The Green Homes Grant risks becoming the second government home energy efficiency scheme in a decade designed to fail.
The last decade wasn’t a good one for energy efficiency policy in the UK. We all remember the Green Deal, the coalition government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was supposed to support 14 million home retrofits by 2020. It was terminated in 2015, after two years, having achieved fewer than 20,000 home retrofits. If anything, it was an example of how not to design an energy efficiency policy. The failure of the Green Deal left a gaping hole that was never plugged.
2020 saw the UK’s largest ever economic slump, effectively taking us back to 2013 levels. In a fortnight the chancellor will have this at the front of his mind as he lays out his budget. Although output has returned to past levels, economic policies can’t go back. In planning the recovery, Rishi Sunak shouldn’t seek to restore how things were in 2013 or 2019, but build a futureproof economy that is still growing in 2033 and 2049.
This post is by Valentin Vogl, an academic working on sustainability transitions in the global steel industry.
This was supposed to be the UK’s climate leadership year. In November, global leaders will gather in Glasgow to try to tame and temper humanity’s climate disruption. Meanwhile, a mere 137 miles south in Cumbria, the UK is set to do the polar opposite and open up a new coal mine.
This post is by Sam Alvis, head of Green Renewal at Green Alliance. This article was originally published on Business Green
As watchers of The Queen’s Gambit will know, every slide of a pawn in chess affects your ability to win hundreds of turns down the line. Even in the heat of the game, players must be thinking about their long term strategy. And so it is for business in the current crisis. Many are in the grips of working out how to survive, but they also know that the decisions they and the government take today will shape how successful they will be for years to come.