Following the pandemic, the UK has a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to improve climate resilience and become global leader on environment, Committee on Climate Change says.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told the government that the pandemic can still become “a historic turning point in tackling the global climate crisis”. A green recovery is the only option toensure a resilient economy can emerge amid the prospect of an economic collapse due to the coronavirus crisis.
In its annual report to parliament, the committee said urgent steps must be taken in the coming months to speed up the transition to a cleaner, net-zero emissions economy.
The committee has set out five steps for building a resilient economy:
- A national plan to renovate inefficient buildings and design new ones to aid the shift to less energy-efficient intensive structures.
- Invest in nature – including tree planting, peatland restoration and green infrastructure.
- Electrify transport and heating, with more electric vehicle charging points.
- Active travel such as walking and cycling, and remote working needs to be encouraged.
- Recycling rates are to be raised, with biodegradable waste no longer sent to landfills.
The months ahead have huge significance. The steps that the UK take in the coming months will have a huge knock-on effect when it comes to recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic damage can also accelerate the transition to low-carbon activities and improve our climate resilience.
The pandemic has resulted in record-breaking climate-positive figures as behaviors such as remote working, cycling and walking have increased during lockdown, leading to a dramatic drop in air pollution levels in cities across the world.
Coronavirus has demonstrated just how quickly social change can occur and public sector leadership need to play a key role in the forming of new social norms and expectations.
Climate investments will help create jobs and stimulate economic recovery, while changing the course of UK emissions and improving our resilience to climate change for the coming decade and beyond. Success requires that net-zero emissions and improved climate resilience are integral to the Covid-19 recovery.