The UK Government faces ‘make or break’ choices if it is to meet its ambitious vision for a low-carbon economy set out in today’s Clean Growth Strategy, Christian Aid has said.
Published by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, the Strategy outlines the UK’s plans to drive economic growth while achieving its targets for cutting carbon emissions.
This roadmap for action could signal a big shift towards a future free of fossil fuels, but only if the Government steps up and delivers, warned Christian Aid.
Christian Aid’s Senior UK Political Advisor, Tom Viita, said: “Managing the risks of climate change is not just a matter of science or economic opportunity, but of moral urgency for the world’s poorest people whose lives and prospects are already being affected.
“To have a chance of meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, the years leading to 2020 are a crucial period in which the UK and other countries must accelerate the shift to low-carbon economies. The UK has moved faster than many and is reaping the rewards, but it will need to decarbonise even more rapidly in the 2020s. The choices of this Government in the years ahead are make or break decisions.
“Today’s Clean Growth Strategy paints an exciting vision for the future economy which will bring many benefits to our businesses and citizens, including savings on energy bills for people on low-incomes. But important pieces are missing from the jigsaw: up-front investment, fiscal incentives, ambitious targets to stimulate demand, and stable long-term policies and regulations. This Government will be judged for its delivery, not its vision.
“For example, the Government has promised to deliver on housing, but today’s strategy misses the opportunity to overhaul the UK’s 26 million leaky homes to be warm and energy efficient. This would be an obvious win for people’s health, comfort and their pockets – and also deliver a fantastic return on investment for the Treasury.”
The 165-page Clean Growth Strategy features 50 key proposals for achieving a 57% reduction in CO2 emissions across the UK by 2032 (compared to 1990 levels). This is the target required by the Climate Change Act.
Commenting further, Christian Aid's Senior UK Political Advisor, Tom Viita, said: “When added up, the Clean Growth Strategy’s ambitions for low-carbon transport, industry and electricity generation could put the UK on a trajectory towards an almost complete phase out of fossil fuels. This makes the Government’s ongoing support for fossil fuel production, whether in the North Sea or East Africa, hard to fathom.
“The UK’s role as a global finance hub is recognised, but more attention must be paid to the contradiction between the Government’s ambition to be the global centre for green finance, and the City’s continued bankrolling of fossil fuels.
“Green finance must not be a new niche area, but must encompass all financial flows coming through the UK. Businesses, regulators and the Government need to work together to make sure all financial flows are delivering a clean and sustainable future.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
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5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.org.uk