23 June 2020
Fast-tracking green investment make rapid progress towards net-zero emissions while delivering sustainable jobs must be central to the Government’s recovery plans, CBI says.
New proposals, Principles for a low-carbon, sustainable and net-zero aligned economic recovery post COVID-19, suggest five key policy interventions aimed at harnessing growing political, business and consumer will to tackle the climate emergency.
Ahead of next year’s COP26 Summit - and against the background of a looming jobs and skills crisis owing to COVID-19 - the need to make quick progress on embedding sustainable economic growth throughout the UK is pressing.
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK policy Director, said:
“Worldwide there is growing recognition of the moral imperative to ramp-up efforts to tackle the climate crisis. And here in the UK there’s also a strikingly clear economic rationale for making it a key plank of our post-pandemic recovery, harnessing the desire for action among business, consumers and politicians.
“Sustainable growth is the centrepiece of plans to build back better post-pandemic. So let’s start by fast-forwarding policies like a mass energy efficiency programme and building new sustainable transport infrastructure. These steps can both help to reduce emissions and provide the kind of jobs and investment stimulus the economy needs for the longer term.
“Action is needed now if we are to make a difference.”
Summary of key policy proposals below (full document here)
- Prioritise public spending and policy on low-carbon programmes that deliver short-term economic and social benefits and lay the foundations for a resilient, net-zero economy
- Of the £9.2bn spending on energy efficiency promised in the Conservative manifesto, the £3.8bn allocated for a Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund should be prioritised to deliver immediate employment opportunities from projects delivered by local councils and housing associations.
- The UK Government should also focus on programmes of energy efficiency improvements within schools that remain closed until the autumn – using the opportunity created by empty buildings to carry out disruptive work
- Prioritise reducing short-term unemployment while laying the foundations for more radical retraining and reskilling within high demand areas, including the low-carbon economy, such as low-carbon heat and battery technlogy
- With the help of the private sector, deliver on existing fiscal commitments from the Budget to leverage investment and cut emissions
- Build on the success of the Contract for Difference auctioning programme in delivering low-cost renewable power generation such as offshore and onshore wind and solar
- Keep pre-existing incentives for low-emissions car purchases in place to build consumer confidence and support new vehicle sales
- Delivering on the £800m Carbon Capture & Storage Infrastructure Fund announced at the Budget would boost significant short-term regional growth in areas of the country where these sectors are based, developing low-carbon and zero-carbon industrial clusters, and bringing employment opportunities (including high-skilled jobs) and importantly, ensuring long-term certainty to sectors, which as a result of COVID-19 are facing severe economic challenges
- UK Government should look beyond the fiscal remit to drive investment and stimulate a green recovery through smarter regulation and clear policy
- To help decarbonise UK road transport, respond to the phase out of the internal combustion engine consultation by the end of 2020 – providing a revised plan for how it will support the transition to any new phase
- Set out the timeline that shows how the Future Homes Standard is delivered by 2025
- The Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy should be published as soon as possible and used to give industry confidence to invest
- Build the foundations of a green economic recovery into plans to support companies recovering from the pandemic
- Ensure support for sustainability is built into the foundation of longer-term financial mechanisms helping companies as the UK moves from rescue to recovery
- Use public procurement to prioritise and enable spending on products and services support domestic resilience and help reduce emissions
- UK should accelerate coordinating a global response
- Prioritise working with businesses to build their involvement into plans for the summit
- To support global progress towards developing low-carbon economies, the government can use its presidency of COP26 to commence and engage in clean investment dialogues
- Increase efforts to develop international policy frameworks that support emissions reduction across connected regions and sectors