UK government told to double climate action investment
The UK must more than double its public spending on climate change and the environment if it is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, a group of NGOs has warned today.
The non-profit organisations estimate that annual investment will need to rise from £17bn to £42bn over the next three years, increasing to around 5% of all government spending.
This is roughly the same amount currently spent on secondary education and defence, and would go towards boosting energy efficiency, electrification of transport, and restoring nature loss.
The recommendations have been sent in a letter to chancellor Sajid Javid, and also call for a ‘climate emergency budget’ ahead of Wednesday’s spending review.
“The climate and environmental crisis has no modern parallel and demands your urgent attention,” the letter states. “It needs to be treated as a long-term investment in the future like education.
“Your department holds the key to ending the UK’s contribution to climate change and reversing nature’s retreat. The spending review and budget provide the first moments for climate action under your leadership.”
The letter’s signatories include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Islamic Relief, and the WWF, while an accompanying report outlines how an emergency climate budget should be spent.
This includes retrofitting buildings, enhancing public transport, creating new habitats for wildlife, and supporting workers and communities to transition to cleaner jobs.
Around £10bn of funding could be made available by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, according to the report, while £16bn could be redirected from expanding Heathrow airport.
As well as creating thousands of jobs, the NGOs say that investing in the right infrastructure will boost health, cut energy bills, ease congestion on roads and enhance nature.
The letter continues: “During his leadership campaign, prime minister Johnson said: ‘If it’s borrowing that is needed to finance great infrastructure projects, to do things for the long-term benefit of the country, then we should do them’.”
It adds: “It is hard to think of anything that would have more long-term benefit for the country than future proofing against climate change and ecological destruction.”
Image credit | iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM