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Thousands to take part in virtual ‘mass lobby’ calling for green recovery

Environmental groups say the public supports action to tackle climate and nature crises which could also deliver jobs and boost economy.

Climate change protests
Climate change protests

More than 11,000 people have signed up to take part in a virtual lobbying of MPs to call for a green-focused recovery to the coronavirus pandemic that tackles the climate and nature crises.

The mass lobby, co-ordinated by the Climate Coalition whose members include the National Trust, WWF, the Women’s Institute and Oxfam, comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to set out plans for boosting the economy as the lockdown eases further.

As constituents head online to lobby their MPs on Tuesday about action on climate change, polling for the coalition found 73% agree the “time is now” to call for the Government to invest in a healthier, fairer and greener world.

The survey by Opinium of 2,002 UK adults, found two-thirds (67%) think we are at a turning point in our history and want their MP to support strong and ambitious plans on climate change.

More than seven in 10 (71%) said the Government needs to be more ambitious in its plans to tackle climate change, with support in areas such as clean renewable energy, reducing pollution, protecting nature, investing in green jobs and helping the public reduce their carbon emissions.

Separately, a report published by Greenpeace UK has found a green economic recovery package totalling £100 billion could create 1.8 million new green jobs in energy, transport and housing and help drive down climate emissions.

Billions should be invested in cleaning up transport, Greenpeace report says (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Billions should be invested in cleaning up transport, Greenpeace report says (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The assessment for the environmental group by sustainability advisers 3Keel set out how investing £100 billion over four years could boost jobs, the economy and climate action.

It said almost half (£48 billion) should go to cleaning up transport, creating 890,000 new jobs in electric vehicle manufacturing, expanding and improving public transport and creating new walking and cycling infrastructure.

Some £25.2 billion for smart power and renewable energy would create 320,000 jobs in offshore and onshore wind, solar, and upgrading the grid, the report said.

Increasing energy efficiency of homes and buildings such as schools and hospitals can produce jobs immediately across the country, with “shovel ready” programmes ready to roll out.

Spending £17.2 billion in in building efficiency would create 400,000 jobs, while £9.6 billion should be spent on restoring nature and reducing waste by boosting recycling.

Greenpeace UK’s green recovery campaigner Paul Morozzo said:  “As a major unemployment crisis looms we need a decisive, fast response from the government.

“By investing in the right industries now to help tackle the climate emergency – which hasn’t gone away during lockdown – the Government can create well over a million jobs when we desperately need them.

“It has the chance to address multiple crises at the same time. If Government acts, jobs will follow,” he said.

Ahead of the Climate Coalition lobby, Chris Packham, the TV presenter, conservationist and vice-president of the RSPB which is also part of the coalition, said people did not want to get back to “normal”.

“We don’t want business-as-usual because it was bad business. And our essential response to Covid-19 has proven that everyone, the entire world, can make changes when it needs to – and it needs to now.

“This tragedy has given us pause for thought and it’s clear that people have heeded its ominous warning and want to rebuild their lives with a properly sustainable environment and secure future,” he said.

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