£30 billion would be a useful start for the climate transition that we need, but we will need very much more

Posted on

I have long argued for a Green New Deal. So, of course, I welcome this news in The Guardian yesterday:

The UK needs to invest an additional £30bn a year in shovel-ready green projects to create jobs, energise the post-lockdown economy and put the country back on track to achieve its climate targets, a new cross-party commission recommends.

In the most detailed blueprint to date for a green recovery from Covid-19, it also advises the government to make an initial down payment of £5bn into a national “just transition fund” that would support the regions likely to be worst affected by the shift away from fossil fuels.

The 96-page dossier was unveiled on Wednesday by the environmental justice commission, which is composed of MPs, business executives, union leaders, climate activists and members of the Institute for Public Policy Research.

But, and I have to say this, when the need is for at least £100 billion a year that can only be the start.

That is most especially true when funding £100 billion a year will not be hard.

And that is also true when business should support this. As the FT noted this morning:

Clean power stocks have weathered the coronavirus crisis better than their peers in oil and gas, new research has shown, as the oil price shock and pandemic shift the landscape for energy investing.

US clean power stocks rose 2.2 per cent in the first four months of the year, while their fossil fuel peers fell 40.5 per cent, according to a study by Imperial College London and the International Energy Agency. The S&P 500 fell 9.4 per cent during the same period.

The time for the Green New Deal has come. Politicians need to be bold in saying so. If I have a criticism of this report it is that it is just not bold enough, and now that we face the most massive economic crisis boldness is what we need.