Environmental Justice Commission calls for people to be put at heart of tackling climate & nature emergency

Thu 28 May 2020 View all news

The Environmental Justice Commission - a panel of respected economists and environment experts - has called for a huge expansion of the green economy to lead the UK's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Convened by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), the interim report calls for a fundamental shift in the UK’s economic priorities in order to fully embrace the decarbonisation agenda.

In its interim report, the Environmental Justice Commission finds that to act with the ambition and at the scale that the climate and nature emergency demands, requires a new approach. An approach where we take faster action to tackle the climate and nature crisis, go further in the transformation of our economy and deliver a fairer transition for all. "Central to the ethos of the Commission is the recognition that there is an inextricable link between addressing the climate and nature emergency and tackling economic and social injustice."

The Commission says that time running out to address the disaster of the climate crises and the degradation of nature, but that there is also a deficit of positive ambition about what transforming to a clean, healthy and environmentally rich economy could mean to citizens here and abroad. The Commission aims to provide this ambition by articulating a vision for a renewed economy and a clear pathway of action of how to get there, through a rapid and fair transition which puts people at its heart.

Focusing specifically on transport, the report calls for the rapid decarbonisation of mobility by reducing car use and introducing free or significantly subsidised public transport to improve air quality and health outcomes.

The authors predict: “Sustainable public transport will be abundant, electric vehicles available for those that need them and take-up of cycling and walking increased."

The report’s key recommendations include setting a more ambitious deadline to achieve a ‘Net Zero’ economy than 2050 and reduce emissions by almost 70% by 2030. It also suggests the establishment of a delivery body to oversee the transition to net zero comprising representatives from the Treasury, BEIS, local authorities and metro mayors who would work with counterparts in regional bodies at local authority and LEP level.

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