Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has set out key principles for a nationwide green recovery.
In letters addressed to the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the CCC has set out six key principles to rebuild the UK following the coronavirus pandemic whilst delivering "a stronger, cleaner and more resilient economy."
The Committee stresses that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change is integral to the UK's recovery package. They advise that the governments in all UK nations must take "immediate steps"; ranging from reskilling and research, to making the UK's housing stock more energy efficient.
CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, states: "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."
In light of a green recovery, they have called for an expansion of tree planting programmes, peatland restoration, green spaces, and green infrastructure. And by adopting trends seen in the quarantine, such as increased home-working, more remote medical consultations and improved safety for cyclists, the government can "lead the way to new social norms that benefit well-being, improved productivity and reduce emissions."
The CCC also reiterates the importance of tackling the wider "resilience deficit" on climate change with strong policies to reduce the UK's vulnerability to the destructive risks of climate change and to avoid a disorderly transition to Net Zero.
The letter states that fairness must be embedded into society as a core principle and suggests: "The benefits of acting on climate change must be shared widely, and the costs must not burden those who are least able to pay, or whose livelihoods are most at risk as the economy changes. Lost or threatened jobs of today should be replaced by those created by the new, resilient economy."
With such significant impacts on people's health, businesses and the economy, it may seem that climate change is a thought for the future.
However, Chief Executive of the CCC, Chris Stark, argues: "The long-term priorities are unchanged. The climate, sadly, hasn't blinked - despite the scale of the economic shutdown. Global emissions might be down...but the planet keeps warming."
Stark says these principles will "get the economy moving AND put us back on track for the UK's climate goals."