The Comprehensive Spending Review: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Last week the Prime Minister set out his Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution that would kick start the government’s mission to reach net zero. Whilst we welcomed this plan to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy and restoring  nature and biodiversity, we were clear that without significantly more funding from the Treasury, and a move away from carbon heavy industries, the plan would not be enough to tackle the ocean and climate crisis.

Today, through the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak had the opportunity to back up the Prime Minister’s climate commitments by outlining the further investment needed to tackle the threat posed by climate change. Instead what we saw was a blatant undermining of that plan.

Whilst the Chancellor committed to providing £12billion for the  10-point plan as part of his £100 billion investment in capital spending, he also announced ‘the biggest ever investment in new roads’ that will actually increase emissions by attracting more cars on to the roads.

This £12 billion committed to the green industrial revolution will also be stretched between investment in renewable energy, green public transport, insulating homes, carbon capture and storage and restoring national parks. This pales in comparison to the other £88 Billion that government will be ploughing into carbon heavy projects.

This government must realize that planting a tree with one hand whilst tearing down three with the other is not building back better. With COP26 just a year away, if the government truly wants to live up to their ambition of leading the world in tackling climate change we need to see them put the climate and environment first.

Hugo Tagholm CEO of Surfers Against Sewage said,

‘The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan showed that there is political will from this government to tackle the Ocean and Climate Crisis. Disappointingly though the Chancellor has not only failed to back up this ambition with the investment needed to tackle climate change, we have also seen the Treasury pump money into carbon heavy projects that perpetuate the ocean and climate crisis.

As we build up to COP26 over the next year it will be more important than ever that Ocean Activists join together to demand the government live up to their net zero commitments and take concerted action to tackle climate change.’