MPs have called on the government to accelerate green investments as part of the post-coronavirus recovery plan for the economy.
The chair of the environmental audit (EAC) committee, and the chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee, have warned chancellor Rishi Sunak that there is little time left to “avert an even greater future global crisis caused by climate change”.
The chair of the BEIS committee, Darren Jones, said that the world after COVID-19 gives us an “opportunity for the UK to step up our efforts to tackle climate change, to foster a green recovery and accelerate the transition to net zero”.
Jones will spearhead an inquiry into the progress made by the government on climate change at a hearing later this week. The hearing follows a report from the official climate advisers to the government, the Committee on Climate Change, in which it was claimed that the UK was not on course to meet climate goals.
“I hope the chancellor will be bold in his investment in infrastructure and people, demonstrating the government’s commitment to tackling climate change, boosting the prospects of a green recovery, creating net-zero related jobs, and bolstering the UK’s credibility as a net zero leader in the run up to COP26 [climate talks],” Jones said.
A new investigation into how the UK’s green agenda can be furthered by the opportunities produced by the post-coronavirus recovery plans has been opened up by the EAC.
Chair of the EAC committee, Philip Dunne, said “if there is anything positive to come out of the pandemic, it is that we wake up to the warnings that we are hearing from scientists about the urgency of acting on climate change.”
“Many of the actions we need to make our net-zero ambition a reality can be used to revive our economy, creating green jobs and generating long term cost savings. It would be a historic mistake to miss this opportunity,” Dunne added.
Calls for a green economic recovery post-coronavirus have been made by business leaders, green groups, and the Prince of Wales - especially to support firms that can help the UK achieve lower carbon emissions whilst helping to create careers within the ‘green economy’.
Alok Sharma, the business secretary, and George Eustice, the environment secretary, will meet virtually with more than 200 business leaders on Monday to discuss moving forward on the UN climate talks which have been postponed until November 2021.
The event will centre around the action the UK can take within the next decade in order to tackle the climate crisis.
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