Environment news: 24th July
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Environment & COP26
The Committee on Climate Change has written to COP26 President Alok Sharma about climate resilience and adaptation in the UK’s COP26 Nationally Determined Contributions. The letter states that adaptation should be at the heart of the post-Covid green recovery. It also argues that for the COP26 Presidency be credible, it must show increased ambition in domestic preparation for the effects of climate change, as well as supporting resilience-building overseas. Read the full letter here.
DEFRA Secretary George Eustice made a speech on his vision for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However his speech received criticism from green groups urging the government not to water down planning laws that protect the environment. A Green Alliance spokesperson said: “There was no commitment to prioritising legislation and also the scale of the funding needed to match the government's stated aims for nature as part of a genuine green recovery”. You can also read the full response here.
The London Assembly’s Environment Committee met this week to consider London’s environment policies in the light of COVID-19. Committee Chair Caroline Russell asked whether there would be plans with regard to returning to ‘business as usual’ after lockdown on issues such as traffic levels and air quality. Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for the environment, said London would continue to be a leader as a green city. Read more about the committee here.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has set out plans to power the London Tube network with renewable energy. Transport for London, London's single largest consumer of electricity, has launched a market test to be supplied with renewable power direct from generators. The Mayor will also look at opportunities to meet London's wider public sector electricity demand with renewables, helping achieve zero carbon faster through collaboration. Read the full announcement here.
The government has opened a consultation on how a Carbon Emissions Tax might operate in the UK. The consultation sets out the government’s proposal for how the Carbon Emissions Tax would help to balance the UK’s environmental, economic and also fiscal priorities. It will be of particular interest to sectors, such as aviation, which could become liable to the tax in the future. Respond to the consultation here.
The Government has announced £350 million in funding to cut emissions in heavy industry and drive the economic recovery from coronavirus. Funding will help drive decarbonisation of heavy industry, construction, space and transport. The investment also comes ahead of the first meeting of the Jet Zero Council, to tackle aviation emissions in line with the government’s ambition for the first ever zero-emission long haul passenger plane. Read the full announcement here.
The RMT Union has accused the government of greenwashing over the announcement of its commitment to reduce emissions. It raised concerns over the government's ability to cut emissions in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement. "Today's announcement completely ignores the urgent need to decarbonise through increased investment in public transport.” Read more of the criticism here.
The Local Government Association has launched a guide to help councils engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This comes at a time when many are starting to re-think the role of local government in leading places and empowering people. The guide, created with the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development, reinforces the need for coherent decision-making across all levels of government, also at a time of growing support for an environmentally sustainable recovery. Read the full guide here.
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