The Green Recovery: Greenpeace Manifesto
In June 2019 the UK Government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. This was a hugely important step for our country, signalling that legislations were finally being put in place to combat the climate crisis.
Not long after this, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the resulting worldwide lockdown caused a reduction in global emissions by 8%. Whilst a step in the right direction this is not enough: this decline would need to continue by a further 7.5% every year in order to meet the UK Government’s target of reaching Carbon Zero by 2050. Pre-lockdown, more than four-fifths of the world’s largest companies were unlikely to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 ⁰C.
‘Nations will begin to emerge from lockdown and look to fire up their economies once again. When that happens, it will be the duty of every responsible government to… rebuild in a way that will stand the test of time. That means investing in industries and infrastructure that can turn the tide on climate change. And it means doing all we can to boost resilience by shaping economies that can withstand everything nature throws at us.’– Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister April 2020
Following the PM’s comment, Greenpeace this week released a manifesto entitled ‘A Green Recovery: How We Get There’; which calls for transformative recovery packages, significant funding and radical policy changes across a range of priority areas – clean transport, green buildings, smart power, nature and a circular economy. The report also calls for “all UK-regulated financial institutions to have a transition plan in place by the end of 2021 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, extending across firms’ global practices”.
A few key points highlighted in the Manifesto:
- Speed up the transition to electric vehicles along with charging infrastructure
- Expand, electrify and increase the affordability of public transport, to enhance connections outside of the South East, increase access to employment opportunities and ease congestion
- Fundamentally redesign urban transport to prioritise walking and cycling, improving public health and delivering clean air
- Kick-start a nationwide home and public sector energy efficiency programme
- Require all new buildings to support a net zero emissions future, requiring the performance of all new buildings to be equivalent to Passivhaus standard by 2023. This would include compulsory installation of solar panels and all new buildings reaching net-zero energy for all uses by 2030
- Establish and sufficiently fund a new Warm Homes Agency to provide market confidence and encourage private investment
- Make offshore wind the backbone of the UK’s energy system
- Support a thriving onshore wind and solar sector to reignite domestic supply chains and increase local access to clean, affordable power
- Upgrade the electricity grid to ensure a smart and flexible energy system
Nature and Circular economy:
- Invest at least £2.5 billion per year on nature enhancement, flood and coastal resilience and marine protection along with support of sustainable agricultural livelihoods.
- Establish world-leading environmental legislation, enshrining ambitious and legally binding short and long-term targets across a comprehensive range of environmental areas
- Get the UK on track to a zero-waste economy, supporting innovation, jobs and sustainable waste infrastructure (recycling, reuse and repair). The Environment Bill should set binding waste minimisation targets, including halving the use of single-use plastics by 2025 and rapidly implementing a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers of all materials and sizes, and ensuring that plastic and other material producers pay the full costs of managing materials after use
Whilst these are all still suggestions at this stage, it is a positive reflection on the current mood of the country with regard to recovering in a sustainable way. Hundreds of new initiatives are popping up all over the country, making it easier than ever to reconsider your firm’s environmental impact on a wider scale – from energy usage to business trips and events (hey!).
The choices our government makes now will define the shape of our society and economy for the next decade, and whether or not we succeed in the fight against the climate emergency. If we fail to get this right, we may never get another chance. Now is the time for a green recovery and for that we need action, not words.’– John Sauven, Executive Director Greenpeace UK
To read the full Greenpeace manifesto, click here.
If you want to chat to us about making your company more sustainable or have an event or business trip coming up that you would like advice on, get in touch. We would love to hear from you!
Stay safe, and we’ll see you post-lockdown.