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Six key principles to form a resilient UK recovery – CCC
The government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has set out six principles to rebuild the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic while also delivering a stronger, cleaner and more resilient economy.
In letters to the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the CCC says that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are integral to the UK’s recovery package.
CCC Chairman Lord Deben said: ‘The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of planning well for the risks the country faces. Recovery means investing in new jobs, cleaner air and improved health. The actions needed to tackle climate change are central to rebuilding our economy. The government must prioritise actions that reduce climate risks and avoid measures that lock-in higher emissions.
Governments in all UK nations should prioritise actions to recover from the pandemic based on six resilience principles:
- Use climate investments to support economic recovery and jobs – the CCC has identified a set of investments to reduce emissions and manage the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change; many are labourintensive, spread across the UK and ready to roll out.
- Lead a shift towards positive, long-term behaviours – the government can lead the way to new social norms that benefit wellbeing, improve productivity and reduce emissions.
- Tackle the wider ‘resilience deficit’ on climate change – strong policies are needed to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to the destructive risks of climate change and to avoid a disorderly transition to net zero.
- Embed fairness as a core principle – the benefits of acting on climate change must be shared widely, and the costs must not burden those who are least able to pay, or whose livelihoods are most at risk as the economy changes.
- Ensure the recovery does not lock-in greenhouse gas emissions or increased risk – support for carbon-intensive sectors should be contingent on them taking real and lasting action on climate change.
- Strengthen incentives to reduce emissions when considering tax changes – low global oil prices provide an opportunity to increase carbon taxes without hurting consumers.
The Committee’s letter details the steps that governments can take as a priority, emerging from these six overarching principles.
One Environmental Economist with consulting engineer Ramboll, James McGregor, summed up a common reaction: ‘The CCC resilience principles deliver an essential reminder that, despite the short-term uplift in environmental performance and recovery, there is a potent risk that the pandemic – which we expect to dominate and guide decision-making for months – will overshadow environmental concerns in the longer term. The concern is that after relaxation of lockdown, governments will seek a quick return to business-as-usual, swiftly trading environmental and social improvements in search of a strong economic rebound.’