We need a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

by | 1 August 2020 | Environment, Sherwood

The coronavirus has shaken the world to its core; testing our economies, healthcare and welfare systems, also our very way of living and working together. COVID-19 has shown us that society is vulnerable to global threats, whether that is a pandemic or the potential effects of climate change. Recovery from COVID-19 is forcing governments to roll out measures to boost the economy, support the unemployed and the health systems. Around the world, programmes are being designed for not only in the short term but also medium and long-term and many legislators, organisations and companies are planning a green recovery. Today’s actions will have long-lasting impacts so it is imperative we make the right choices.
Climate change influences many other world problems, including dwindling biodiversity, health problems, climate migrations, so we must campaign for a post coronavirus recovery that addresses not only today’s recovery but helps create a fossil free, carbon neutral, resilient and inclusive social and economic model for tomorrow.
As devastating as the consequences of the pandemic may have been, the lockdown measures taken have had one positive effect in dramatically reducing CO2 emissions by working from home and reducing road and air travel. The International Energy Agency (IEA), the UK’s prime minister and leading economists are among those that have called for a “green recovery” that “builds back better”, by cutting CO2 emissions as well as boosting the economy. We cannot afford for emissions to increase again.
Boris Johnson recently promised a “greener and more beautiful Britain”, announcing plans to plant around 30,000 hectares of new trees every year, 4,000 new zero-carbon buses and the construction of cycle super-highways, among other measures. This includes making £40million available for local conservation projects to tackle climate change, halt the loss of wildlife and connect people to the outdoors. However, Friends of the Earth are advocating that a green recovery “should be the centrepiece of government plans, not some detailing at the very edges”. We want a green economic action plan with a massive fossil free energy efficiency programme, safer walking and cycling, and world-class public transport. “It’s time to end our fossil-fuel and car dependency and build a cleaner, fairer future”.
Ed Matthew, from The Climate Coalition, said: “The PM’s call to ‘build, build, build’ failed to mention the need to help people to rebuild their existing homes to make them zero-carbon. A massive retrofitting programme to decarbonise UK homes can boost the economy, create over 200,000 jobs across every part of the UK, and reduce NHS costs.

What we need for a green recovery

  • Massive renovation of our buildings and infrastructure to be more energy efficient
  • A more circular economy bringing local jobs
  • Renewable energy projects, especially wind, and solar to eliminate fossil fuels
  • Cleaner transport
  • Strengthening of the Just Transition Fund supporting, re-skilling and helping businesses create new opportunities.

For more information about Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth we’re on Facebook: Sherwood Forest FoE, or email sffofe@btinternet.com.
Pauline Meechan
Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth