News on the environment: 26th June
Greenhouse Public Affairs provides a weekly public affairs news round-up across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. Sign up to our public affairs weekly round-up here.
Environment & COP26
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has launched its latest progress report on the government’s progress towards net-zero emissions. It finds that the government is significantly off track in adaptation to build climate resilience. It outlines five priority areas for investment: low-carbon retrofits; tree planting and peatland restoration; strengthened energy networks; improved infrastructure for walking, cycling, and working remotely; and also moving towards a circular economy. It states that choices in the coming months must steer an economic recovery from COVID-19 that accelerates our transition to net-zero, and strengthens our resilience to the impacts of climate change. Read the full report here.
The UK Climate Assembly has published its interim briefing, outlining the public’s views on workable solutions to tackle the climate crisis. It aims to give government an understanding of what measures the UK public support in reaching net zero, and how COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown might affect those measures. The briefing shows that assembly members believe “steps taken to help the economy recover should be designed to help achieve net-zero, and that “as lockdown eases, the government and employers should take steps to encourage lifestyles to be more compatible with reaching net-zero.” Read the full briefing here.
A new report by the Institute for Public Policy research (IPPR) says Covid-19 has exposed our lack of preparedness for nature crises. The report concludes that the environmental crisis has already reached critical levels due to the 'historic disregard' for the destruction of nature. Soil has been degraded, species are going extinct, and oceans are also polluted. It calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission on Preparations for Environmental Breakdown to assess the UK's preparedness for environmental breakdown. It would also establish the criteria by which the UK's preparedness can be assessed. Read the full report here.
A new report by Energy UK has identified five policy areas which could provide the stimulus for jobs, investment and growth as part of a sustainable green recovery. It calls for a national housing infrastructure upgrade programme, further accelerate the transition to low carbon transportation, private investment in a digital, flexible and affordable, low carbon energy system, development of regional industrial clusters and local supply chains, and support for people, businesses and also local authorities to recover from the crisis. Read more about the report here.
Environmental group BiofuelWatch is urging policymakers to redirect biomass subsidies towards truly clean and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. The UK is the largest user of biomass electricity in Europe, backed by more than £1 billion a year in government subsidies, paid out via a fee on energy bills. However, burning wood in power stations is no better for the climate than burning coal. Furthermore, much of the wood in question enters the UK from sensitive forests overseas, destroying habitats and wildlife. Read the full statement here.
The DfT’s Transport Science Advisory Council has published new research and recommendations on transport decarbonisation. It calls for a study which aligns the science, research and innovation horizon with policy ambitions, and also the transport technologies which are being developed in parallel. It also says the DfT should consider what near-term options are available to support long-term decarbonisation of transport through procurement. The full findings are available here.
Innovate UK has opened applications for a share of £15 million to support the development of zero emission vehicle technologies. The government grant will fund business research into these new technologies and also support the development of a supply chain. Its aim is to accelerate the UK’s ability to deliver the next generation of electric vehicles, hybrid aircraft, energy generation, smart grids, industrial drives, consumer products, agricultural vehicles, ships, and also rail. Read more about applying for funding here.
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced £73.5m in funding for the automotive industry to develop green technologies and safeguard jobs. Ten projects across the UK will receive a share of this new investment in cutting-edge technology for electric taxis, cars and vans – for example recyclable batteries, advanced electrical systems and ultra-lightweight components. The funding boost will also aid the development of highly efficient components to help drive the automotive industry away from reliance on fossil fuels. Read more about the projects receiving funding here.
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