Levelling up: a green new deal for the UK?

“There isn’t one green new deal, there are many versions – and that’s a strength, not a weakness.”

“The current cost-of-living crisis, largely driven by energy price hikes, is the “most immediate threat” to the UK’s delivery of its long-term climate targets.”

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In the middle of the summer 2020, there was the conviction that “Covid can be an historic turning point in tackling the global climate crisis”:

“Achieving the UK’s climate goals and rebuilding the economy fit naturally together. Each makes the other possible. Success demands that we do both. The actions recommended by the CCC will deliver an improved economy, better public health, improved biodiversity and access to nature, cleaner air, more comfortable homes and highly productive and rewarding employment.”

A green new deal for the UK? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The PM was saying pretty much the same:

The government will build back better, build back greener, build back faster. We will invest in and accelerate infrastructure across the UK; promote a clean, green recovery; reform our planning system; and strengthen the Union and local government.

PM: A New Deal for Britain – GOV.UK

Today, the New Economics Foundation has released a report bringing much of this together:

You can’t level up without a Green New Deal – here’s how we get one.

Five steps towards a Green New Deal | New Economics Foundation

One of their ‘steps’ being the levelling up of the country’s housing:

Home | Great Homes Upgrade

Over the last month or so, the government has launched several initiatives and consultations – some of which will have a direct impact on people’s immediate lives:

Direct Air Capture and other Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies competition – GOV.UK

UK government announces major expansion of heat networks in latest step to power homes with green energy – GOV.UK

Climate Change Agreements (CCAs): proposals for a future scheme – GOV.UK

However, this is all going to be very difficult to deliver:

The current cost-of-living crisis, largely driven by energy price hikes, is the “most immediate threat” to the UK’s delivery of its long-term climate targets, according to a new policy briefing.

Published today (13 January) by the think-tank the Institute for Government (IfG), the warning forms part of a new policy briefing on laying the foundations for the UK’s transition to net-zero in the coming months. Experts, including the Government’s own advisors at the Climate Change Committee (CCC), have warned that the longer the transition is delayed and the less it is organised, the higher the costs will be and the lower the chances will be of the UK meeting its legally-binding pledges to cut emissions.

The IfG’s new policy paper states that, unless the Government takes urgent action to manage the current cost-of-living crisis, the public and political momentum built up around COP26 will fizzle out. Millions of UK households are set to see their energy bills surpass £2,000 this year, largely due to the skyrocketing costs of gas imports. At the same time, food prices are rising and changes to income tax could leave many low and middle-income homes paying up to £3,000 extra annually. The energy price crisis, in particular, has opened a fierce debate among MPs and businesses about how best to respond, with some arguing that we should produce more gas domestically and scrap green levies on bills, and others arguing that this approach is too short-sighted and ignores the root causes of the problem.

Short-term measures recommended in the IfG report include

Failure to tackle cost-of-living crisis could derail UK’s net-zero transition, Institute for Government warns

And, besides, there are several ways of looking at what a ‘green new deal’ would mean:

There isn’t one green new deal, there are many versions – and that’s a strength, not a weakness (Muddled, top-down, technocratic: why the green new deal should be scrapped, 11 November).

A green new deal is waiting to be enacted | Letters | The Guardian

   
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