Environmental politics
News of the week: 5th June

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Greenhouse Public Affairs provides an environmental politics news report across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. Sign up to our weekly news round-up here.

Environment and COP26

Four projects to protect and restore valuable habitats will receive funding in a government scheme to encourage sustainable private sector investment in our natural environment. DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (EFF) and Triodos Bank UK have collaborated to support these projects. Sourced and evaluated by Triodos Bank, the projects will receive grant funding from DEFRA, the EA and EFF to support their development, complete business plans to attract private sector investment, and deliver long-term environmental benefits and sustainable financial returns. Read more about the projects which have received funding here.

The BEIS Select Committee has launched a new super-inquiry on Post-Pandemic Economic Growth. This wide-ranging inquiry will look at options to secure the post-Covid economic recovery, covering investment, jobs, and sustainable growth. A series of sub-inquiries will examine issues such as devolution and the ‘levelling-up’ agenda, government investment in future businesses, and the measures needed to stimulate economically and environmentally sustainable growth. More information about the inquiry is available here.

Greenpeace has published a manifesto which sets out a detailed green recovery plan for the government to revive the economy. The manifesto calls for transformative recovery packages and radical policy changes on areas including clean transport, green buildings, smart power, nature and a circular economy. This follows an announcement from the Prime Minister last week, in which he said the UK will “base our recovery on solid foundations, including a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy”. The government is yet to give any details on how it plans to do this. Read the full report here.

The ONS has published statistics on the UK’s Environmental Accounts in 2020. The statistics measure the environment’s contribution to the economy, and also the impact of economic activity on the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport industry increased by just over 5% between 2017 and 2018. The energy and manufacturing sectors in 2017-8 reduced GHG emissions by around 4% and 2% respectively. The airline industry accounted for just over 8% of the UK’s total GHG emissions in 2018. Emissions from all road transport accounted for around one-fifth of total UK GHG emissions in 2018. Read the full statistics here.

Energy

A new report by the Centre for Policy Studies has found significant opportunity for a hydrogen strategy to decarbonise the transport network. Transport is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. The report argues that focus on electric cars must run alongside action on heavier vehicles, to which hydrogen is well-suited. It argues investing in hydrogen as a fuel source is essential for Britain to meet its net-zero target and clean up its air. This could offer significant economic gains and help build a world-leading green industry in the future. Read the full report here.

The UK Green Building Council is helping towns and cities to work together on a new mass home retrofitting programme. Boosting home retrofitting will accelerate our transition to net zero and create jobs across the country. The project supports towns and cities to develop individual retrofit programmes, as well as co-ordinate approaches to funding opportunities. It will also encourage greater partnership between industry and NGO groups on home retrofit; and help to co-ordinate cities’ engagement with central government. Read more about the programme here.

Finance

The UK Government has published new proposals showing how a new UK-wide Emissions Trading System would work. This would put cost on carbon pollution to encourage polluters to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. It includes plans to reduce the existing emissions cap by five per cent, going further than the current EU system. The government says that this new system draws on the best of the current system, while ensuring greater flexibility to work in the UK’s best interests. Once the new system is up and running, the government intends to amend the cap again in line with its net zero target. Read more about the proposals here.

The CCC has written an open letter to Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng MP, regarding the future of carbon pricing in the UK. The letter states that the UK must tighten the cap of the scheme in line with its 2050 net-zero target. The Committee is pleased to see the government’s intention to align the scheme to the CCC’s carbon budget advice. However, news of the government’s interim proposals appear inconsistent with the UK’s net-zero ambitions, relating to the high level of allowed emissions under the proposed cap. Read the full letter here.

If you would like to discuss environmental politics news, political engagement and public affairs, you can also email us at public.affairs@greenhousepr.co.uk

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