Campaign group delivers detailed proposals for how government could ensure recovery delivers 'a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy'
Greenpeace UK has today published a detailed 'manifesto' setting out how the government could deliver an effective green recovery plan that would help revive the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
Titled A Green Recovery: How We Get There, calls for a series of transformative recovery packages that mobilise significant investment in green infrastructure and ensure that radical policy changes transform business and operating models across five priority areas: clean transport, green buildings, smart power, nature, and a circular economy.
The publication comes in the wake of a series of media reports and comments from senior ministers suggesting the government wants to place climate action at the heart of a sweeping economic stimulus plan, which is expected to be unveiled next month.
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged countries to "build back better" from the coronavirus crisis, stressing that the UK will "base our recovery on solid foundations, including a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy".
"For all of the suffering and sacrifice people have endured during this health crisis, it has provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the way we live, travel and work - tackling the health, climate and nature crises all at the same time," said John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK.
"This manifesto is a ready-made roadmap for the government to revive the economy while creating a green, clean, fairer future for everyone. By prioritising investments, policies, training and reskilling in clean transport, green energy, homes, and nature restoration we could create hundreds of thousands of new, secure jobs."
He also stressed that the response to the economic crash will "define the shape of our society and economy for the next decade, and whether or not we succeed in the fight against the climate emergency".
"If we fail to get this right, we may never get another chance," Sauven warned. "Now is the time for a green recovery, and for that we need action not words."
The release of the report coincides with the expected publication later today of the list of companies that the Bank of England has loaned £18.5bn to and authorised a further £38.8bn of government money for, as part of its Covid-19 rescue package.
Campaigners have been calling on government to ensure such bailout packages come with new climate conditions that would require firms to enhance their climate risk disclosure and set out how they plan to decarbonise, as has happened in a number of other countries.
The manifesto proposes a raft of new investment programmes and policy measures, and argues that the various measures need to be delivered simultaneously in order to "obtain the full economic, social and environmental benefits of the post-Covid response".
"All of these priority areas should be viewed as intertwined, with successful action in one area being dependent on actions happening in the others," the manifesto states.
Specifically, the report calls for the government to cancel HS2 and the UK's road-building programme to free up £133bn for a massive new public transport and street transformation programme, while also accelerating efforts to electrify cars, vans, buses, and trains.
At the same time the plan calls for a major programme to upgrade energy networks, establish offshore wind as "the backbone of the UK's energy system", and drastically improve the UK's building stock by upgrading existing buildings and ensuring all new homes are built to Passivhaus standards.
Finally, the report proposes a UK-wide programme of nature recovery centred on targets to plant at least 700 million trees and restore all degraded peatland by 2030, as well as increased spending to boost flood and coastal resilience and sweeping new plans to deliver a zero waste economy.
The report comes as it emerged that the Prince of Wales is preparing to convene a series of meetings with businesses alongside the World Economic Forum, under the banner the The Great Reset, which will urge companies and governments to put in place a green recovery. "As we move from rescue to recovery [from the pandemic], we have a unique but rapidly shrinking window of opportunity to learn lessons and reset ourselves on a more sustainable path," the Prince said in a statement. "It is an opportunity we have never had before and may never have again. We must use all the levers we have at our disposal, knowing that each and every one of us has a vital role to play."
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