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@GreenAllianceUK @GreenAllianceUK
November 2019


The pressure in Westminster that has been building for some time has finally been released and we find ourselves, once again, in the middle of a general election (I imagine poor old Brenda from Bristol is being hounded). Cutting Carbon Now is using the opportunity to push all parties to commit to its five policy asks.  See below for more details.

Once a new government is established, we will continue to build momentum and collaborate with climate focused organisations across the UK to ensure that the UK meets its carbon reduction targets in the short term and gets on track for a net zero future. The hosting of the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November next year provides the perfect opportunity for the government to show global leadership by first meeting its own targets back home.
This newsletter will keep you posted on the project’s progress and activities, including sectoral convening and upcoming events. You have been added to the mailing list as someone we have worked with on these issues or who we thought might be interested in knowing about the project. (You can unsubscribe below if you would rather not receive these updates).

Best wishes,
Paul McNamee
Head of Politics
Green Alliance

Politics round-up
  1. The General Election
  2. Government response to the Committee on Climate Change Progress report
CCN Activity updates
  1. SNP conference roundtable 
  2. Westminster Hall debate
  3. One year until COP26
Politics round-up:
The General Election
This December the British people will take to the polls for the first Christmas election since 1923. But it is perfectly possible to vote with a pencil in one hand and a mince pie in the other.
Cutting Carbon Now has asked all parties to sign-up to the five policy asks outlined in Acting on net zero now:
  • Bring the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles forward to 2030.
  • Introduce new incentives for better product design and reuse.
  • Fund an ambitious new home energy efficiency programme
  • Introduce a package of measures to plant more trees, restore peatland and improve soils.
  • Open up new routes to market for onshore wind and solar power.
In addition, we are supporting the call for party leaders to take part in a televised climate and nature debate in the run-up to the election. More details on the proposed debate can be found here:
Image: Flikr creative commons
Government response to the Committee on Climate Change progress report (click here to see the full response)

Last month the government published their response to the Committee on Climate Change’s progress report in July. The government agreed with the Committee that the pace of achievements in the power sector has not been matched in all sectors of the economy. Some highlights of the response report in relation to our asks are as follows:
  1. Bring the 2040 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles forward to 2030; Unfortunately, while the importance of the ban in general was mentioned, there was no indication that it would be brought forward. There was a commitment to publish a Transport Decarbonisation Plan, sometime next year. This is expected to take, for the first time, a holistic and cross-modal approach to transport decarbonisation. However, it has dismissed the CCC’s recommendation of including international aviation and shipping emissions in the carbon budgets.
  2. Introduce new incentives for better product design and reuse; Resource efficiency and circular economy were mentioned in vague terms but no new development. Just a continued commitment to the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy. 
  3. Fund an ambitious new home energy efficiency programme; A new heat decarbonisation roadmap will be published in 2020.The response acknowledges the challenge in achieving the target of EPC Band C by 2035 and instead showcases the various innovation competitions and studies that the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is undertaking. The lack of a policy pathway to meet this already lax target is worrying.
  4. Plant many more trees, restore more peatlands and wetlands, and manage soils better; The response outlined the government commitment to producing an England peat strategy and setting up a Lowland Peat Agricultural Taskforce to restore degraded peatlands that are a large source of carbon emissions. Similarly, another consultation on the England tree strategy is expected later this year. Both Scotland and Wales have committed to increasing their tree cover by a combined total of 12,000 hectares every year from 2020, the CCC targets call for at least 30,000 hectares rising to 50,000 hectares per year.
  5. Open up new routes to market for onshore wind and solar; A re-stating of the 2015 conservative manifesto on onshore wind, which suggests that no routes to market will be offered by the government unless private markets are able to support onshore wind projects. The Secretary of State later announced that an energy white paper will be published next year and so there could be some movement in the conservative manifesto on onshore wind in the upcoming elections.
Other points of interest:
  • The response commits to making clean growth trade and investment a priority for the UK’s export strategy, trading in areas such as ultra-low emission vehicles, offshore wind, smart systems and green finance.
Following Brexit, the response commits to establishing "governance arrangements" to drive progress in line with the ambition required.

One year until COP26: what is the plan?
It's one year until the UK hosts COP26 and our Policy Director, Dustin Benton, lays out what CCN hopes to achieve in this blog
CCN activity

SNP conference rountable
This month CCN went to Aberdeen! We hosted a round table at the SNP conference to discuss an all society approach to COP26, the policies that needed to be delivered before 2020, and what Scotland’s “story” would be at the COP.
Of particular interest was the idea of a “net zero club”, a loose coalition of nation states, sub-national actors, businesses, city regions and others who are all committed to achieving net zero. What this would look like in practise, or what would be needed to join, is to be determined.
Westminster Hall debate on natural climate solutions
Green Alliance provided a briefing for MPs for an debate on restoring nature and climate change in response that took place on 28th October. It was encouraging to see that the emphasis on the need to ‘act now’ and swiftly ran through the course of the debate. MPs echoed our call for peatland and wetland restoration, increased trees and better managed soil as key for tackling climate change.
The Minister of State for the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture, said that the government will "deliver meaningful commitments at the convention on biological diversity in China and at COP 26".  He stated that a focus on nature-based solutions was in both the national and international interest and therefore would be weaved into trade agreements.

We hope to see the government focus more on shaping demand for low carbon food in the future through incentivising measures such as selective breeding and alternative feed. These could cut beef and dairy emissions by around 50%. Dietary changes and improved trade policy that ensures environmental standards and rewards for farmers were also lacking in this debate, but are crucial in tackling emissions. The debate was important in opening up the conversation on natural climate solutions, but ambition needs to be greater and more far reaching to get the UK on track for net zero by 2050.
Have a great weekend!

Head of politics, Green Alliance
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