Greening the economy is not a peripheral project: it may be the biggest economic project we’ve ever tackled

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I worry that the scale of the green stimulus that our economy requires is misunderstood. Business Green has reported that:

[A new report from WWF] - entitled Keeping us Competitive and produced by Vivid Economics - suggests transitioning to net zero emissions could offer at least 210,000 jobs in 2030 and 351,000 in 2050 from sectors such as green buildings, electric vehicles and power.

It also calculates the net zero transition could yield over £90bn of annual benefits to the UK through improved health and living conditions, delivering economic gains that significantly outweigh any costs.

"A green stimulus is the best way to support economic recovery and build resilience," the report states. "Investment in low carbon infrastructure can boost long-term productivity and high returns, as every pound spent on low-carbon investment options returns 3-8 times the initial investment."

This comes amid many reports that the government is planning a green stimulus package next month.

But let's get clear the scale of the change required.

To get to scale it would probably cost £100 billion a year.

To tackle unemployment it needs to create vastly more than 210,000 jobs: there are going to be many millions unemployed.

And to create real change it is going to have to be big.

Just think of it like this. There are 30 million properties in the UK. Most are hopelessly energy inefficient. To upgrade them all between now and 2050 (which is far too late) will require that 20,000 a week are tackled. That's 20,000 sets of windows, and insulation, and heat pumps and solar panels, every week.

That's the scale of what is required.

That's a massive investment.

Alone that requires a large part of £30 billion year, which is what WWF are suggesting spending.

And it's only a part of the green agenda. The real cost could easily be £100 billion a year. 

We need to stop playing on the peripheries of this issue: the scale of action required is enormous and more than enough to sustain this economy. Besides which, we really have no choice.