A consortium of trade associations representing the renewables industry and related sectors have sent a joint open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak making the case for renewables to be embedded into the UK Government’s stimulus packages to address the economic recession caused by the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the larger issue of climate change.
In the letter, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), ECA, the REA, Scottish Renewables and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) highlight the value of scaling up the renewables industry to develop a circular economy that meets net zero targets and provides not only return on investment, but crucially, millions of jobs and energy security.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s campaign to “Build Back Better”, the signatories ask the Government to ensure the UK “builds back green”, and urge the Chancellor to:
- choose renewables as a safer and more lucrative investment option than fossil fuels
- focus on job creation across ALL renewables and related low carbon technologies – not just solar and wind
- ensure energy security for the UK is achieved through renewables
They also call for the UK to show leadership in the lead up to the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. With the US stepping out of the Paris Agreement and China reneging on previous green pledges, they see “an opportunity for someone else to show leadership on the green transition and give the world renewed hope” and urge “the UK Government, as the host of the next UN climate summit, COP26, to take up this role and to make the only sensible choice: a green response to COVID-19”.
This call is the latest in a string of pleas by environmental groups to urge governments across the world to make the post Covid-19 recovery a green one.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (@EP_Environment) had an exchange of views with the European Commission (@EU_Commission) on the European recovery package and the link with the European Green Deal and the fight against Covid-19 and urged the Commission to make the continent’s recovery green.
The Commission representatives underlined the need for a rapid recovery to avoid long-term damage to the economy and said “Europe after the recovery should be greener and not go back to pre-crisis status quo”.
According to the group of MEPs, experience from the previous financial crisis shows that productivity reforms must accompany investments to work properly and the Commission is providing support to member states to design and implement such reforms.
MEPs said investments made through the Recovery Plan should respect the “Do no harm” principle meaning they should not support or be directed towards activities that would work against the achievement of Union’s objectives related to climate, environment and biodiversity. In this context, some MEPs mentioned the lack of clarity in the Commission’s proposals as to how they will ensure that the Green Deal is prioritised in member states’ recovery plans.