On 18 November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” which he says will create and support up to 250,000 jobs. The government plans to invest £12 billion to create a “greener, more prosperous future”.
Committing to one of the earliest deadlines in the world, the British government will ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles in 2030. Hybrid cars with a combustion engine will be sold until 2035 provided they can drive a “significant” distance in zero-emission mode.
On your bike (or bus or feet)
Thousands of miles of new cycle lanes are to be created, and many roads will be closed to cars to increase cycling safety.
By 2025, at least one town or city will have a fully electric fleet of buses.
Heating your home and business
Few people think about the economic impact of heating their home. But the fact is, our homes contribute to 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, a similar level to emissions from cars. And the humble boiler is responsible for most of that 14%.
Therefore, the government has pledged to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 as part of plans to make homes, schools, and hospitals greener. Earlier this year, a £2 billion green home grants scheme was announced, which provides up to £5,000 in vouchers to pay for energy saving measures being installed.
The government also wants to see tens of thousands of homes heated by hydrogen instead of natural gas by 2030.
We all know that trees are an essential part of any plan to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2019, a report on the Global Tree Restoration Potential showed that the earth had available an area the size of the USA for new tree planting and if it were filled, this could reduce carbon emissions by 25%.
“Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment,” Professor Tom Crowther, the senior author on the study, told the BBC.
The government has a goal of planting 30,000 hectares of woodland a year, although it has struggled to meet this target in recent years.
Offshore wind electricity generation
Boris Johnson has already committed to Britain producing enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home in the country by 2030. Subsidy contracts will be awarded from 2021 to support the next wave of offshore wind projects.
A total of £525 million has been pledged “to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors”.
The City of London has a significant role to play in environmental protection and climate change. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed plans to launch green gilts for investment in green infrastructure projects. Companies will also be required to disclose their emissions.
Earlier this year, former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, at an event at London’s Guildhall, called on the City’s money managers to bring forth a new era where every corporate financial decision takes climate change into account. Mr Carney stated:
“Private finance will have a critical role to play in a successful transition to a net zero (carbon emissions) economy.
“We should make no mistake about it: Achieving net zero requires a whole economy transition. Every company, every bank, every insurer, every investor will have to adjust business models. But doing so will turn an existential risk…into the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.”
With the economic pressures of Covid-19 and Brexit hitting hard next year, serious commitment and funds will be required to fulfil the above objectives. However, the public have woken up to the fact that it is too late now for half-hearted attempts when it comes to tackling climate change and protecting the environment.
It is time for Britain to step up and continue to be a world leader in saving the planet.