Climate Change

Just transitions

  • Net zero transition must be fair if it is to gain public support. IPPR’s cross-party Environmental Justice Commission published its final report after a 2 year enquiry on how to bring about a just green transition. Based on the recommendations of a series of citizens’ juries organised in different parts of the UK, the report emphasises the positive effects of ambitious action through job creation, lower energy bills and improved public health.
  • ~~Public involvement is critical. IPPR’s Luke Murphy argued that local communities must be able to decide how the net zero transition is designed in their areas in an interview with Sky News. This is the only way to ensure that the transition has public support, the Commission concludes.  
  • ~~Fairness is multi-faceted. Similar to the findings of the UK Climate Assembly, the Commission highlighted the importance of getting the balance right between the distribution of costs for individuals, businesses and the public purse, fairness between different regions of the UK, between different genders, races, abilities and generations and between different countries.
  • ~~A just transition for high carbon sectors. One of the citizens’ juries was in Aberdeenshire, the centre of the UK’s oil and gas sector, which will be hard hit by net zero. Following extensive local consultation with businesses, unions and the community, an IPPR report for the Commission showed how a ‘managed transition’ for the oil and gas sector could be designed.

  • A new social contract. Laura Sandys, former Tory MP and one of the co-chairs of the commission, outlined its six principles to embed fairness in the net zero transition in a piece for Conservative Home: a ‘people’s dividend’, a ‘fairness lock’, a ‘people-first approach’, national leadership with local delivery, a ‘whole-economy, all-society’ approach, and ‘valuing what matters’.
  • ~~Policy recommendations. These principles inform a varied policy agenda, including free public transport, a universal dividend payment paid for through carbon pricing, giving people a stake in decarbonisation through community owned energy and natural assets, ‘a right to retrain’ for workers from high-carbon industries, local participatory budgeting and the devolution of powers and resources to local and regional government, reworking tax incentives and small business loans to harness the power of small and medium-sized businesses, and a Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

Weekly Updates

Local economies and devolution

Monetary policy and finance

  • Green finance for local authorities. The Green Finance Institute, Abundance Investment, UK100, Local Partnerships and Innovate UK have launched a national campaign to help local authorities issue Local Climate Bonds; “a cost-effective way for them to fund hundreds of green local projects” This would be cheaper than the loans they can currently get from the Public Works Loan Board “and a valuable way to engage constituents in plans for decarbonisation”.
  • ~~Local government and net zero. The National Audit Office released a report reiterating the important role local authorities can play in the transition to net zero but criticises the “serious weaknesses” in central government’s approach, warning that the “piecemeal funding” given to local authorities will hamper progress.
  • ~~Case study. Community Municipal Bonds can raise funds for public infrastructure, for instance by financing the decarbonisation of housing in Wales, argued a report by the NEF and the Wales Future Generations Commissioner, Homes fit for the Future: The Retrofit Challenge.

Health and Covid-19

Fiscal policy and public services

  • Fiscal mythology unmasked.Finance Watch published a report debunking eight tales about European public debt and fiscal rules. The report clarifies misconceptions often seen in UK debates about public finances, such as the use of debt-to-GDP ratios as indicators of debt sustainability, the fear of inflation driving up the cost of debt servicing, and intergenerational equity arguments for reducing the debt burden. (Twitter thread summary here)