Climate change action should be core part of COVID-19 recovery plan, say government advisors

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are integral to the UK’s COVID-19 recovery package, the Committee on Climate Change has warned today.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Committee sets out six key principles to rebuild the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic ‘whilst delivering a stronger, cleaner and more resilient economy’.

Actions to take now

The letter recommends immediate action of the following measures, to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits:

  • Investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure.
  • Supporting reskilling, retraining and research for a net zero, well-adapted economy.
  • Upgrades to our homes ensuring they are fit for the future.
  • Making it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely.
  • Tree planting, peatland restoration, green spaces and other green infrastructure.

CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of planning well for the risks the country faces. Recovery means investing in new jobs, cleaner air and improved health. The actions needed to tackle climate change are central to rebuilding our economy. The Government must prioritise actions that reduce climate risks and avoid measures that lock-in higher emissions.”

Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, said: “This pandemic has shown that global risks need global solutions. As President of next year’s pivotal COP26 climate summit, the UK now finds itself in a unique position to ramp-up climate action at home and supercharge the international response to climate change abroad. The risks we face as a globalised society are now in sharp focus – for their part, UK leaders must act decisively on a climate resilient recovery, and do so together.”