UK urged to ‘rebuild’ economy with renewables by Committee on Climate Change (CCC)

May 6, 2020

The UK government must factor in renewables when rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 crisis, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) a leading public body has urged.

Actions towards net-zero emissions and to limit climate change damages will help rebuild the UK, said Committee on Climate Change (CCC) chairman Lord Deben in an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change should be integral to any recovery package, said the CCC.

In response RenewableUK stated: “While our first priority has to be staying safe and supporting the response to COVID-19, the CCC’s letter is clear that we need to look at how we rebuild the UK’s economy after the pandemic and help Government to meet its net zero emissions target.

“The climate emergency has not gone away; if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need to make sure our economy is sustainable and resilient in the long-term.”

The trade group highlighted that renewable energy companies are already making climate investments in new infrastructure that support economic growth and jobs.

It added: “This investment boosts local economies all over the country, particularly in coastal communities which urgently need new job opportunities. We’ll be working with Ministers to ensure we have the right policies in place to accelerate this investment and deliver net zero.

“Our industry will play a pro-active role in getting the economy back on track as we move out of lockdown. Renewables are a UK-wide opportunity to have a sustainable, forward-looking recovery and to boost productivity across the economy.”

Deben said there are “clear” societal benefits to be availed from the immediate expansion of low-carbon investments, reskilling for a net-zero economy, and upgrading homes to ensure they are fit for the future.

In the open letter, the CCC strongly urged the government to use climate investments to support the economic recovery and jobs.

“Our previous work has identified a detailed set of investments to reduce emissions and manage the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change. Many are labour-intensive, spread geographically across the UK and will have high multiplier effects.

“The government can act to bring these investments forward, often without direct public funding or by co-financing to accelerate private investment, as part of a targeted and timely stimulus package with lasting, positive impacts,” wrote Deben.

The CCC also urged the government to ensure the recovery does not ‘lock-in’ greenhouse gas emissions or increased climate risk.

“It is right that actions are taken to protect jobs and industries in this immediate crisis, but the government must avoid ‘lock-in’ to higher emissions or increased vulnerability to climate change impacts over the long term.

“Support for carbon-intensive sectors should be contingent on them taking real and lasting action on climate change, and new investments should be resilient to climate change,” the letter said.