11 Jan Net zero investment an economic, environmental and political priority for the UK
Government spending for tackling the climate challenge would improve GDP in the long term and secure further public support, according to a study by the IPPR. The research discovered that 80% of the general public regard renewable energy investment as a vital metric to respond to the energy crisis. IPPR explains that if the UK were to boost its GDP by just 0.5%, it would generate an additional £12 billion in public spending.
New research from the IPPR shows that investing in climate action is popular with the general public and represents a long-term cost-saving measure for the Government. The IPPR warns that no climate action has resulted in rising costs, with flooding alone in the last year costing over £330 million. At the same time, the UK is facing a living crisis driven by escalating energy bills. IPPR explains that if the UK were to boost its GDP by just 0.5%, it would generate an additional £12 billion in public spending. In contrast, research suggests the shift toward net zero could boost the UK GDP by 2% by 2030 and 3% by 2050. Additionally, generating cleaner and greener air and reducing emissions would decrease the pressure on the NHS by £2 billion annually. The UK Government has previously warned that without further structured climate resilience plans, billions will be removed from the national GDP in the future, with the costs of action set to outweigh the cost of action by 2045. As a result, the IPPR has created five principles for responsible investment in net zero. This includes shared spending to manage inequalities, creating added value for the private industry by supporting low-carbon markets, introducing investment plans every year to manage supply chain pressures, adapting the economy with the launch of a new industrial strategy and ensuring that value incorporates environmental and social, as well as economic.
Associate fellow Sam Alvis from the IPPR believes now is not the time to ignore green investment. As the UK enters a recession, public investment must support new, clean infrastructure that can accelerate growth. Expanding renewable energy, restoring nature or expanding public transport networks can enhance productivity and reduce emissions.
In challenging economic conditions, the UK government must ensure its spending can deliver economic growth and emissions reductions. The IPPR also highlights that climate action has become increasingly popular with the public. A survey by Opinium shows that 68% of the public support a significant climate investment plan. While 4 in 5 people believe renewable energy investment is the best response to the energy crisis. The new study comes as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the latest version of its public attitudes report, with surveys sent to over 20,000 adults.