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IPPR: Securing a Green Recovery From Covid-19

On June 11th, the IPPR hosted an insightful Webinar on ‘Securing a green recovery from Covid-19.’ With lockdown restrictions easing across the UK, plans for recovery are creeping into the agenda, and the presentations provided wide ranging considerations for a green approach. The talk focused on the positives, and opportunities for integrating environmental elements into the UK's recovery plan. Below are some of the key takeaways. The speakers were:

  • Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 

  • Alexander Stafford MP, Member of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee

  • Baroness Brown of Cambridge; Chair of the Carbon Trust; Deputy Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change; and the UK's Low Carbon Business Ambassador

  • Angela Francis, Chief Advisor, Economics & Economic Development, WWF UK; Member of IPPR Environmental Justice Commission

  • Luke Murphy, Head of Environmental Justice Commission, IPPR

Alexander Stafford MP

  • The argument has been won – the world is going towards a net-zero economy. The question is no longer ‘should we go there’ but ‘ how do we get there?’

  • This is a transition and we all have to work together - not just NGOs, but also businesses, and Government

  • We need to retool the economy, businesses, and our thinking

  • We have a perfect opportunity – what sort of economy are we going to have in the decades to come

  • The UK has a huge advantage – we have technical abilities, people who are skilled and ready to go

  • But we have to be realistic – countries like China, Germany already have advantages in certain areas. Where do we find our niche – where do we excel above everyone else e.g. hydrogen, off-shore wind turbines?

  • We need the whole government to embrace these ideas – provide financial models, backing and sell this agenda

  • The Government should go out to trade fairs to showcase what we sell. Germany is on the front foot at trade fairs, saying ‘we have the technology’

  • The green economy could be as significant as the Industrial Revolution

  • It must be transition – we shouldn’t have huge shift overnight. This is what happened with coal mines. Instead, we need to bring people with us

  • There's too much ‘doom and gloom’ – we should be more climate positive, the future is exciting

  • The PM is a big fan of the environment – we should make sure the Government keeps a focus on the environment through the crisis

  • Green technology makes your life better – that’s what we should be selling

Ed Miliband MP

  • We’re doing this to make a green transition, and build back a better economy

  • We’re hosts of COP26 – there’s an obligation to show there is a way of making your economy green as an exemplar to others

  • There is an absolute imperative to act boldly

  • We need to have consistency of approach and make investments as green as we can

  • In this crisis we've seen how private and state sectors have worked together as never before

  • Inaction costs more than action – not acting on the climate/ economic crisis will cost much more down the road

  • GDP isn’t a good measure of economic prosperity – it doesn’t show where money is going. We need much broader measures of how we’re doing as a society

  • We need a net-zero test – everything Government does as part of recovery passes through this test

  • It's bad value for money if everything you do takes you away from the green economy

  • The antipathy to onshore wind doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically – you need onshore wind as part of the mix. The tumbling costs of renewables is incredible

  • DIT should be at the forefront of how we make sure the environment is at the centre of any trade deal we do with the US

  • You don’t want to introduce taxes that are regressive on people – to take people with us we’ve got to make sure it’s progressive, not regressive

  • If you think about challenges of jobs programmes, whatever programme the chancellor proposes will require adaptation to local circumstances

  • This is about people having better lives

Baroness Brown

  • The Committee for Climate Change produced 6 principles for resilient recovery

  • We need scientific-led evidence on key risks

  • We should invest heavily in training – move people from high carbon to low carbon jobs

  • Tax policy could aid transition and incentivise

  • Adaptation should be a big part of our recovery

  • Increasingly in wealthy nations GDP is not the right measure, we can’t always be driving GDP everywhere, we don’t have enough resources.

Angela Francis

  • It is now about shaping a stimulus package with a green agenda and making it work for people in all segments of society

  • It should be jobs-led, moving businesses towards net-zero

  • We need a net zero test/ resilience rule for policies

  • We can change the way we view public finances and shape the economy to reduce climate risk in the future

The IPPR's next webinar 'Are we ready for Environmental Breakdown?' will be on Wednesday, 24th June at 16:00-17:30 - register here.

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