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Labour Urges Chancellor to Realign Spending with Cuts to Carbon Emissions

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Labour has warned the chancellor of the exchequer that he must realign spending with the goals of cutting emissions, or risk missing the target of net-zero by 2050.

Labour’s shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Wes Streeting, highlighted the Treasury’s Green Book as being a key test for Rishi Sunak. The Green Book contains the guidelines by which the government evaluates policy, programmes, and projects.

“The Treasury really is crucial [and] should step up,” Streeting told the Guardian. “A reform of the Green Book should have net zero writ large, so that the civil servants and ministers making appraisals of policy can take account of whether those policies help or hinder reaching net zero.”

The Green Book is key as many green policies of the past have fallen short of the Treasury’s standards for cost-effectiveness. However, if the net zero target is to be achieved, it must become a priority for the Treasury.

“They are squandering this opportunity,” Streeting said. “The government approach to climate change reeks of complacency. But the Committee on Climate Change has warned that they’re not going far enough, fast enough. There is no plan for net zero.

“There is no shortage of ideas and recommendations [on how to ensure the economic recovery is in line with the net zero target] but what’s missing is leadership and action.”

The Liberal Democrats are also urging the government to prioritise a green recovery in their spending plans. Speaking to the Guardian, Don Foster, Liberal Democrat peer and former MP, said: “If this government is determined to prove their green recovery is more than just empty promises, they need to be more ambitious.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “The Green Book requires that environmental impacts – including the impact on our net zero target – are considered in all government investment decisions. We remain committed to tackling climate change and as our economy reopens following from the coronavirus outbreak we will seek to drive clean, sustainable growth across all regions. This includes continuing the review of the Green Book and our processes for allocating funding.”

The UN’s COP26 climate summit, which the UK is set to host, has been postponed until next year. According to Streeting: “Cop26 is the last chance saloon. The UK has a huge responsibility to the rest of the world. But we are clearly behind on Cop26. We need to do more.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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