This post is by Colin Hines, convenor of the UK Green New Deal Group
Last year was certainly the ultimate grim “Events dear boy, events” year. On the brighter side, despite Covid having drained discussion away from most other issues, one of the gratifying exceptions was progress on the climate crisis. This was kept in the limelight throughout the year, albeit at an elite scientist, economist, NGO and concerned politician level, the pandemic having cleared the streets of the protestors who had so successfully dominated climate coverage in 2019.
To most people ‘infrastructure’ is an abstract word. Something engineers and policy wonks worry about, which has little to do with their everyday lives. And yet, from the buildings we live and work in, how we move around, the way we get our energy and water, to the systems that give us access to food and other goods, infrastructure is the backbone of our economy and our society. It governs all of our choices, including how green we can be.
This post is by Belinda Gordon, strategy director and Roz Bulleid, interim deputy policy director at Green Alliance
While the risk of a second coronavirus wave was always there, the rapidity with which we’ve been driven back into lockdown has taken the country by surprise. We now feel a long way off ‘recovering’ from the pandemic, both in health and economic terms. While the chance of a vaccine in the next few months looks promising, there is broad agreement that it won’t be the silver bullet that allows life to ‘go back to normal’ anytime soon. So, the reality is that we need to learn to live with the virus, at least in the short term. This includes working out how we continue to make progress to address the other, longer term crisis we face: that of climate change and the destruction of nature.
It can’t have come as a massive surprise to many that, as coronavirus surges once again, the chancellor has cancelled the autumn budget. With so much uncertainty around the state of the country’s finances, the logic goes, now would not be a good time to make tax changes.
This post is by Jonny Hughes, WCMC chief executive officer, UNEP-WCMC. A longer version was first published by UNEP-WCMC.
The idea of the green economy is no longer the preserve of radicals and marginal groups. Governments are now seriously waking up to the promise of what a new type of inclusive and sustainable economics could bring. It comes with the prospect of a new wave of ‘green-collar’ jobs providing millions with secure and fulfilling employment. A recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report on the Future of Nature and Business estimates that a transition to a green economy could create 395 million jobs globally and $10.1 trillion in annual business value by 2030.
Many were eagerly awaiting the chancellor’s statement last month to hear how he would tackle the economic crisis whilst also delivering a green recovery. But, despite some welcome measures on energy efficiency, his statement did not have green priorities running through it. Read more
This post is by Sam Hall, director of the Conservative Environment Network
Earlier this month the chancellor committed to deliver a green recovery with “concern for our environment at its heart”. He backed this up with a new £3 billion scheme to make homes, schools, and hospitals more energy efficient. This ambition is in tune with the public mood, as recent polling for the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) shows. Read more
This post is by Simon Marsh, head of nature protection at RSPB.
“Build, build, build”. If that means building quality homes in the right places with wildlife-rich green space on the doorstep, who could object? But with rumours swirling that speeding up the planning system means cutting back vital environmental protections, and with radical planning reforms proposed, it’s time to speak up for good planning. Read more
If the reports in the Sunday papers this weekend were true, then tomorrow the prime minister will set out his vision for how the UK government plans to respond to the serious and grave threats facing the economy as the global pandemic continues.
It will also be the first time since the lockdown in March that the government has had the chance to put climate and nature back on top of its agenda. The need to do so could not be more urgent. Read more
This is a joint piece by Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our society and economy have been profound and will leave a lasting legacy. While the outbreak of the virus was a great shock to our system, the legacy it leaves is much more within our control. Read more