March Climate Change Policy Review
The latest policy review from our Policy and Strategy Lead, Sean Morris.
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
Satellite data shows entire Conger ice shelf has collapsed in Antarctica
An ice shelf about the size of Rome has completely collapsed in East Antarctica within days of record high temperatures, according to satellite data. The Conger ice shelf, which had an approximate surface area of 1,200sq km, collapsed around 15 March.
World leaders agree to draw up ‘historic’ treaty on plastic waste
Representatives from 173 countries have agreed to develop a legally binding treaty on plastics, in what many described a truly historic moment. The UN resolution calls for a treaty covering the “full lifecycle” of plastics from production to disposal, to be negotiated over the next two years. It has been described as the most important multilateral environmental deal since the Paris climate accord in 2015.
World leaders must 'radically' scale up renewable energy now, IRENA warns
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is warning that the energy transition remains "far from being on track", with fossil-fuel-based responses to Russia's war in Ukraine likely to worsen the situation.
Global green finance market grew more than a hundred-fold over the last decade
Research from TheCityUK, with the support of BNP Paribas, has found that the global green finance market has grown from $5.2bn in 2012 to more than $540bn in 2021. However, the report states that the share of green finance in the total finance market sits at just above 4% globally.
UK GOVERNMENT CLIMATE POLICY
Spring Statement: Rishi Sunak announces VAT relief for home energy efficiency retrofits
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered his Spring Statement, including several measures aimed at alleviating the cost-of-living crisis but providing little cause for celebration for the green economy.
UK government vows 10-fold increase in electric car chargers by 2030
The UK government has set a new target to increase the number of electric car chargers more than ten times to 300,000 by 2030. This follows heavy criticism that the rollout of public infrastructure is too slow to match rapid growth in sales.
Public Accounts Committee Report: UK risks missing net-zero due to poor engagement with households, businesses and councils
The Public Accounts Committee concludes in a new report that the UK Government still has "no clear plan" for funding the transition to net-zero and risks losing the confidence of organisations that will prove key to delivering a low-carbon future, including businesses and local councils.
CCC - The government's Heat and Buildings Strategy "leaves many questions unanswered"
The government's Heat and Buildings Strategy "leaves many questions unanswered" the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said. It calls for a “careful, consultative” approach to address the shortcomings. Some of these questions include uncertainties around how a market-based mechanism for low carbon heat will operate and the governance arrangements for energy planning.
LOCAL AUTHORITY NET ZERO INITIATIVES
GM Strategy 2021 – 2031 launched with tackling climate change, inequality and promoting innovation at the heart of it
“We want Greater Manchester to be a place where everyone can live a good life, growing up, getting on and growing old in a greener, fairer more prosperous city region.”
TRANSPORT EMISSIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Andy Burnham to cap GM bus fares at £2 a journey
The GM Mayor has sought to cap bus fares as part of a plan to create a fully integrated public transport system for region. The low-carbon, “London-style”, fully integrated public transport system across bus, tram, train and bike, is called the Bee Network.
HEALTH, WELLBEING AND CLIMATE IMPACTS
Home wood burning in UK causes £1bn of health costs a year, report says
The air pollution from wood burning in homes is responsible for more than £1bn a year in health-related damages in the UK and €10bn (£8.5bn) across the EU, according to a report.
CLIMATE ADAPTATION AND RESILIENCE
Met Office to increase heatwave thresholds across parts of England
The official definition of a heatwave is to be changed in a band of English counties from Surrey to east Yorkshire, in response to the warming climate. The Met Office said it was increasing heatwave temperature thresholds in eight counties before the summer. The change reflected “an undeniable warming trend” for the UK that had made the original thresholds obsolete.
Carbon removal markets must grow exponentially by 2030 to keep 1.5C alive, report warns
Natural and engineered emissions removal systems will need to scale up to enable 3.5 billion tonnes of removals annually by 2030, to give the world the best chance of limiting the global temperature increase below 1.5C. That is the headline conclusion of a new report from the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) think-tank.
Emma Howard-Boyd: 'Resilience is the missing link in investment in net-zero and nature'
Environment Agency chair Emma Howard-Boyd has implored businesses to take heed of the messages on climate adaptation and resilience from the recent major climate report, arguing that "we cannot rely on public interventions alone".
BUSINESS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Survey: SMEs struggling to find funding and time to deliver sustainability ambitions
A survey of more than 2,000 UK-based small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) has found that most are feeling under pressure to improve their sustainability credentials, but one-third believe it will be too expensive for them to take action this year.