Amid the ongoing crisis that the UK economy is facing in the wake of Coronavirus lockdown, British business leaders are urging for a green economic recovery. This call has come ahead of UK PM Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday where he is expected to speak out the government’s action-strategy during the lockdown.
As per media reports, top executives of more than 50 businesses, several environmental groups, and public figures have signed an open letter urging the Prime Minister to work on a sustainable economic recovery. The UK government’s climate advisors have also urged on focusing on low-carbon work programmes in the lockdown exit strategy, in order to protect the climate.
Through the letter issued by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK government has been asked to prioritize its action according to the six principles for a resilient recovery:
1. Use climate investments to support economic recovery and jobs
2. Lead a shift towards positive long-term behaviour
3. Tackle resilience deficit on climate change
4. Ensure recovery does not lock-in greenhouse gas emission or increased climate risk
5. Strengthen incentives to reduce emissions when considering fiscal changes
6. Fair distribution of policy costs and benefits
Advisers to Boris Johnson’s government have been calling for the ministers to ensure that firms that will reduce carbon emissions should be given priority for funds earmarked for economic recovery after the Coronavirus lockdown eases down. They have urged to exclude polluting industries “without a proper climate plan” from aid by the government. Furthermore, there have been attempts to restore ecosystems in danger and support sustainable food, farming, and fishing. Environment ministers from various also help online discussions on the prospects of plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Reportedly, the UK government has formulated plans targeting to reduce emissions to net-zero by the year 2050. Interestingly, a study released by Oxford University stated that including climate-friendly policies such as clean energy infrastructure investment in COVID-19 recovery plans could boost economies for several countries. The student indicated that green projects delivered higher short-term returns increased long-term cost savings and helped in creating more jobs after comparing them with traditional fiscal stimulus.
Under a strict lockdown since March 23, the United Kingdom is looking forward to easing its restrictive measures as the economy is heading towards its worst crash in over 300 years. The Bank of England has warned that the economy could shrink by 14% this year. Unemployment is also expected to double up due to the ongoing recession in the world economy.