To say that the release of the IPCC’s report on climate change has caused much more of a stir than most green policy reports tend to would be a massive understatement. The headline take away of ‘code red’ for humanity in relation to the environment dominated the news in the UK on the day the report was released.
The report is fascinating, at least if you’re used to normally reading fairly dry and not very well thought out green policy reports like I am (there are good ones as well – unfortunately, there are a lot of bad ones out there too). There was the ‘stick’ in the report of ‘you need to do this now or else’, with the ‘or else’ being vividly laid out; there was also the ‘carrot’ of, ‘this can be fixed if there is the political will and way’. The report lays out a lot more than just this, being large and comprehensive in its scope, but these were my main takeaways for the lay audience.
As it happens, I have written a report on green policy that is out the very same week as the IPCC’s report. I wrote it for the Centre for Progressive Policy and its called ‘Solving the Climate Crisis’. My paper is a lot narrower in scope than the IPCC’s – I focused mainly on the UK government’s ten-point plan for green growth, detailing what is good about it and what is bad about it.
A little background: the ten-point plan is officially known as “The ten point plan for a green industrial revolution” and it was released to the public in November 2020. It marked a huge change in Tory policy on sustainability, moving beyond the strange and cheap plan the government previously had for ‘post-Covid green growth’ that had all sorts of strange little gremlins in it, like the plan to spend £10 million on a spaceship that would fire lasers into clouds.
What’s good about the new plan: it contains some decent and even ambitious targets. ‘Ensure that the public sector has reduced its direct emissions by 50% compared to a 2017 baseline’ by 2032 is one example. What’s bad about the plan: the practicalities of how the government intend to reach these targets is often confused, missing or severely underwhelming. For instance, the ‘jet zero and green ships’ section states that, “Up to 5,200 jobs supported by a domestic SAF industry” will be created. Yet the plans as detailed make it extremely difficult to understand how these jobs will actually be created and the danger is that underlying assumptions are being made that, given
the lack of success of recent green initiatives from this government, are not warranted.
In my report, I talk a lot more about what I think the government should be doing in the immediate future to fill these gaps. It is only meant as a guide to ‘quick wins’ for the government’s ten-point plan to start to work, but I think, particularly in light of the IPCC report, that these sorts of steps are urgently necessary. I think it comes down to three essential components:
- Create the jobs necessary for the ten-point plan to work
- Better incentivise the private sector to play its part
- Put in place structures to hold the government to its own promises and measure their real-world impact on the environment and the economy.
I detail how I would do all of that in the report, which is a relatively brief read that you can find here: