Coronavirus response could seed green economy

| 15th May 2020
The economic impact of Covid-19 should be repaired in line with the net zero emissions target of 2050.

Investors are looking for the UK to uphold the Paris Agreement. 

Unsustainable sectors should not be bailed out by the UK government, as the coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to invest in a more environmentally-friendly economy, MPs have been told.

Addressing the Environmental Audit Committee on Thursday, Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (pictured), said the economic impact of Covid-19 should be repaired in line with the net zero emissions target of 2050.

Asked by Blyth MP Ian Levy for her views on the impact of the pandemic, Ms Renyolds declared it could be an opportunity to create a "new normal" with more green jobs replacing those in affected sectors.

Bailed

She said: "I feel hopeful, I want us to emerge from Covid-19 with a recovery plan that is all about how we make a greener UK, and more inclusive UK, so how we make the recovery sustainable, inclusive and green is extremely important.

"I think investors are looking for the UK to uphold the Paris Agreement so how do we make sure both the recovery planning is in line with the net zero target of 2050 from the government, and I think it should be reflected in the UK's infrastructure strategy and the Treasury's net zero review."

The aviation and oil and gas sectors were given as examples of industries that should have conditions about emissions reductions attached were they to be bailed out.

Money

Ms Reynolds added: "The government needs to look at other sectors, such as investment in wind and solar accelerating electric vehicles, policies that accelerate the transition but also that will be job creating.

"One thing we'll need is jobs, and we need those to be green jobs in energy efficiency in nature-based solutions, protecting forests, nature and making cities greener, these are all the things we need to look at.

"Let's not bail out and continue to prop up unsustainable sectors, let's focus on the world of the future and how we mobilise money that way."

This Author

Ted Hennessey is a reporter with PA. 

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