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Campaign groups pressure Boris Johnson to pledge ‘green recovery’ from pandemic

climate change uk
Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Prime Minister is facing pressure from campaigners to commit to climate action in the latest call for a “green recovery” from the pandemic.

More than 50 leading charities – including WWF, Oxfam and the Women’s Institute – have signed a letter to Boris Johnson warning a “green and just” recovery is the only way to build economic resilience in the wake of Covid-19.

The PM has previously said the world owes it to future generations to “build back better” and ensure a fairer, greener and more resilient economy.

Now the groups, under the banner of The Climate Coalition, have called for him to urgently turn words into action to tackle climate change and the loss of nature, create jobs and boost clean industries.

Their plan for a green recovery includes improving homes to make them warmer, with clean technology such as heat pumps, to cut bills and carbon, boosting electric vehicles and developing more renewable power.

The organisations also urge the Government to set a new economic test to make sure the recovery plan is in line with targets to tackle climate change, and say bailouts for businesses must be in line with cutting emissions.

A world leading system of environmental protection, ambitious targets to restore nature, helping farming that delivers for wildlife and the climate and increasing woodland cover are also needed, the groups urge.

The letter says that “the actions taken now to respond to the pandemic and rebuild our economies will determine whether humanity succeeds in our goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, halt and reverse the decline of nature and eradicate poverty”.

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: “We know a green recovery makes economic sense and is supported here in the UK and overseas by leading businesses, academics, ministers, and health representatives.

“What we urgently need to see now, and post-pandemic, is commitment from Government on turning this into action.”

She said investing in a green recovery could support at least 210,000 green jobs across the country and bring benefits worth £90 billion a year to the UK economy.

Christine Allen, director at aid agency Cafod, said: “Ministers have said a lot about drawing up recovery plans which recognise that helping the economy means creating green jobs and investing in measures to protect our common home.

“Now we need the Prime Minister to turn words into actions.

“As we emerge from this crisis, we must put in place the policies to halt the climate crisis, as well as cancel debt payments for the world’s poorest countries as they deal with the effects of both of these emergencies.”

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