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Greening the post-Covid recovery


In May the Committee held a session on the environmental implications of the Covid-19 crisis. Witnesses stressed how critical it would be to align the post-crisis recovery stimulus with the UK’s goals on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development – given the short window of opportunity remaining to keep global temperature rises to a manageable level. The Committee has since agreed to launch an inquiry looking at how to align any post-pandemic economic stimulus package with the UK’s climate and environment goals.

Economic impact and policy response

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a global macroeconomic shock unprecedented in peacetime. UK Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 10.4% in the three months from February to April – with monthly output collapsing by 20.4% in April after the lockdown was introduced. As the UK emerges from the initial public health crisis, the economic challenges may intensify as the Government tapers its employee and business support packages.

In Oct 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that time is running out to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C. In this context, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016, explained to the Committee how critical it is that climate change mitigation is at the heart of the post-COVID recovery:

"Those rescue packages, US$10 trillion to US$20 trillion, will not only be defined but very likely allotted over the next 18 months. Because of the scale, they will determine the characteristics of national economies and of the global economy for several decades. It is exactly this decade, between 2020 and 2030, where climate science has been lucidly clear that we need to halve our emissions, reduce to 50% the emissions that we have right now."

The Committee also heard from Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme at the Oxford Martin School, about the potential for green investment to boost the economy, providing more jobs; delivering higher short-term returns per pound spent by Government, and leading to increased long-term cost savings.

Global leadership

In 2021 the UK will be hosting COP26 and will also hold the G7 Presidency. This provides a platform for the UK to take an international leadership role and galvanise a green and climate-friendly global response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

The Committee’s inquiry will consider how the post-pandemic recovery can be aligned with the UK’s climate and environment goals and the role that the UK can play in driving a green recovery internationally.

For further details read the inquiry's Terms of Reference.

Upcoming events

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Past events

Thursday 3 December 2020
9:00am Private
9:30am Public
Greening the post-Covid recovery - Oral evidence 3 December 2020
  • Andrew Forth (Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Royal Institute of British Architects)
  • Dr Steve Melia (Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning at University of the West of England)
  • Professor Jim Hall (Trustee Board member at Institution of Civil Engineers)
  • Martha McPherson (Head of Green Economy and Sustainable Growth at Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), University College London (UCL))
  • Stephen Fitzpatrick (Chief Executive Officer at OVO Energy, and founder at The Zero Carbon Campaign)
  • Konstanze Scharring (Director of Policy and Government Affairs at Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT))
  • Sarah Gordon (CEO at Impact Investing Institute)
Room 5, Palace of Westminster
Thursday 24 September 2020
9:00am Public
Formal meeting 24 September 2020
Greening the post-Covid recovery - Oral evidence
  • Maria-Krystyna Duval (Head of Climate at ClientEarth)
  • Fran Boait (Executive Director at Positive Money)
  • Chris Hagg (Head of External Affairs at Celsa Steel UK)
  • David Morgan (Director of Flight Operations at Easyjet)
  • Richard Ward (Vice President Marketing, Strategy & Solutions at Baker Hughes)
  • Sarah Breeden (Executive Director for UK Deposit Takers Supervision at Bank of England)
Virtual meeting
Thursday 23 July 2020
9:00am Private
9:30am Public
Greening the post-Covid recovery - Oral evidence 23 July 2020
  • Caterina Brandmayr (Senior Policy Analyst at Green Alliance)
  • Richard Benwell (CEO at Wildlife and Countryside Link)
  • Dimitri Zenghelis (Senior Visiting Fellow at Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)
  • Tom Thackray (Infrastructure and Energy Policy Lead at CBI)
  • Sue Ferns (General Council lead on Energy and Climate Change at TUC)
  • Melanie Leech (Chief Executive at British Property Federation)
Virtual meeting
Thursday 21 May 2020
2:30pm Public
Greening the post-Covid recovery - Oral evidence 21 May 2020
  • Professor Kate Jones (Chair of Ecology and Biodiversity at University College London)
  • Professor Frank Kelly (Head, Department of Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences at King's College London)
  • Professor Tim Lang (Professor of Food Policy at City University London's Centre for Food Policy)
  • Christiana Figueres (Former Executive Secretary at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
  • Professor Cameron Hepburn (Director and Professor of Environmental Economics at Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School)
  • Steve Waygood (Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva)
Virtual meeting

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