- Sean Voitov
Living is expensive, the war in Ukraine rages on, the economy isn't growing and the NHS is in Crisis. These are the immediate problems that face most people in the world and governments are at least somewhat trying to find solutions to them. Whilst Sunak has unleashed his 5 proposals for this year along with other policies to try and deal with problems in the world, there seems to be an on-going threat that has slipped the agenda of many.
Environmental policy speed was not at its fastest before Covid-19 and in fact had new potential after lockdown as the numbers of people on planes and environmentally unfriendly transport declined. But in the UK it seems to have been completely forgotten, a greener Britain left out of Sunak's future Britain and a return to air travel, but the reality is that a greener Britain is the future, it is the future that must be accepted or risk us being left behind.
Brexit has left us at a disadvantage in terms of our influence in the world. Yes we continue to remain influential and a big player for now, but as the rest of the world invests more in green technology and policy ideas and perhaps the centre for investment for the distribution of that technology, we might well be left behind in a cloud of pollution. Whilst we continue to do well in innovation for green technology, a recent report by the Climate Change Committee found that the government’s investment in measure to tackle climate change is lacking what it needs to be and with the PM hesitant to introduce any new major policy idea on the UK’s green future the incentive for that investment seems far off.
This reluctance of the government is detrimental to not just the concept of working together in the world to solve Climate change, as should be enshrined in the Paris Accords of 2015 as well as the recent COPs, but also the British households who suffer from floods and heatwaves and the nation's in the world who are literally sinking. The UK requires a new green plan not just an effective one that allows for fighting climate change such as with renewable energy and greener transport options, but also one where the public are involved in the process, where there is a serious national discussion on the topic which whether people know it or not affects them every day. Too often it is the case that in a general election an environmental plan is just a bonus side policy rather than a main discussion point on a manifesto.
At a time of economic decline there is the argument to be made that focusing on environmental projects are a needless waste of money, the economic crisis so many countries face could arguably be worse for the environment as countries no longer invest in climate change mitigation strategies as the unfortunate truth being that the things worse for our planet is cheaper than the better alternatives. However there is another perspective of the coin, rather than having mass government intervention in the economy to make it green, the main goal can be a market based strategy that actually grows the economy as well as the resilience of the world to ourselves.
There is a business to be had in the fight against climate change. Greener companies can be at an advantage to competitors, firstly as found in a report, 81% of people prefer to buy from a firm which is environmentally stable. People either realise the importance of being environmentally friendly or just feel good about doing something good, so for a firm that can get more people buying from their shops, being more green means. more consumers,
Being green is also more sustainable than a competitor who isn't green. Even at this slow pace big changes are inevitable and the ban of sales of petrol cars is already booked for 2030, so getting on the wagon now is better than leaving it to the last minute changes and the hassle that comes with it. In many ways it's cheaper as whilst there are high sunken costs in getting green technology, the upkeep of green businesses is cheap with a classical argument being EVs, although more expensive than the average car, refuelling them is nowhere near as expensive. Even providing EV charging points is a good business strategy. The number of people with EVs is increasing every day, they are just consumers looking for a place to charge so for a business it would make sense to get people to park next to their shop.
The Paris Accords were set up to stop the world from getting any hotter than 1.5C, that was not to stop climate change, but to prevent the worst case scenario from happening to the developing and developed countries in the world. Yet this goal now seems more of an optimism rather than a realistic goal for us in the world to achieve. The chance for change, beneficial change for everyone in the world and everything is there, to put it behind party politics is just another failure of not only the country, but the whole world waiting to happen.