18 Jun Charity leaders urge the UK government to focus on a greener post pandemic recovery
A large group of UK charities is urging the UK government to include a number of conditions to push for a green recovery post pandemic. The charities are calling for all economic recovery packages to prioritise the development of low-carbon infrastructure and the generation of green industry jobs.
A group of 57 charities in Britain have directly contacted the UK PM to urge the leader to push for a green recovery from the pandemic. The charity network consisting of over 22 million members has called for all economic bailouts to include a number of strict measures so businesses receiving financial support during the crisis would be capable of meeting low-carbon targets. The charity network has emphasised that all parts of the economic recovery package be passed through a certain criteria to ensure they meet the wider target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The charities are also pushing for ministers to eradicate, rather than pause the incurred debts of developing nations struggling with the impacts of both COVID-19 and climate crisis.
The network of charities which includes Oxfam, WWF, RSPB and the National Trust have signed a collaborative agreement just weeks after ministers made statements towards the need for a sustainable recovery but without detailed policy information.
Tanya Steele, the CEO of WWF UK says a green recovery makes perfect economic sense and is something this has wide support from business, academics and ministers across the UK. Steele highlights that what is needed now is a clear commitment from the government on converting these ideas into action.
Charity campaigners have claimed that investing in green recovery could generate over 200,000 green industry jobs and create over £90bn every year from economic improvements and enhanced health systems. Melissa Gree, the general secretary of the Women’s Institute believes that members of the WI can clearly see that post pandemic economic packages need to include a clear and ambitious set of green policies in order to effectively work towards net zero emissions. The charities are joined by a number of industry professionals calling for an emphasis on green recovery to support nations through the recession and to work towards a low carbon future.
A number of fossil fuel businesses and other companies associated with high emissions have benefited from public finance programs lacking any green-related plans. Carbon emissions reduced considerably as a result of the pandemic but have recently begun to accelerate again. Climate experts fear that without clear government intervention, the UK may return to business as usual and emissions could potentially rise to a level higher than before the pandemic, particularly due to a shift back towards private vehicles over public transport networks.
The Climate Coalition believes that as host of COP26, the UK government has much responsibility to act as a leader in green recovery. Campaigners have been frustrated by the existing lack of clear policy details on effective green recovery and an agenda for COP26. Charity leaders believe that the most effective way of showing leadership as required for COP26 is to place resilience at the core of economic recovery by driving the transition towards net zero, focusing on nature and supporting the most vulnerable in the UK and overseas.
The charities proposed a seven point plan following a similar concept to the advice provided by economic leaders and the Committee on Climate Change. This includes proposed investment in energy efficiency, renewables and zero-carbon transport, delivering a climate infrastructure bank, trade agreements that support British farming, enhanced protection for nature, eradicating fossil fuel financing and stronger support for the protection of global biodiversity.