Briefing: Responding to Recession – a Green Stimulus?
17 March 2009
Tomorrow (Wed 18th March) John Swinney is expected to outline the Scottish Government’s plans for economic stimulus – including green measures - at the National Economic Forum.
Friends of the Earth Scotland note recent research and recommendations for Lord Nicholas Stern, HSBC, the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee which suggest there is a high bar for the Cabinet Secretary to aim for.
Friends of the Earth will be assessing:
the total amount committed
the likely net benefits to climate change emissions (or other environmental outcomes)
the level of new green funding, or reallocations to green from non-green measures
the speed with which the resources can be mobilised
Lord Stern has argued for a global spend of $400bn on green measures as part of stimulus packages totalling $2 trillion. The former is equivalent to 0.8% of global GDP, or in Scotland around £650 million. Lord Stern’s team has also identified key factors in appropriate investments – that they can rapidly utilise currently under-used resources in ways that create jobs with high domestic spending multipliers, and simultaneously deliver, and lock-in carbon savings. Improving domestic energy efficiency in existing homes is highlighted as a particularly good investment.
HSBC has reviewed stimulus packages in several countries, and has highlighted that some of the greenest packages are in emerging economies like South Korea ($26bn or 69% of its package is green investment) and China ($198bnm, 34% green), as well as in the USA ($132bn, 16% green), raising the fear that such nations will steal a march in the development of new green technologies such as renewables and carbon capture and storage.
The UK Parliament EAC has recommended that UK green economic and fiscal measures should be increased and better targeted, reporting widespread concern at the paucity of additional investment on green measures, and citing Stern’s figures (above). They have not only pressed the Chancellor to use the forthcoming UK budget to progress this agenda, but also challenged the Treasury to examine how the majority public-owned banks such as RBS could be required to follow low-carbon or environmental criteria for lending. Environmental Audit Committee: Pre-Budget Report 2008: Green fiscal policy in a recession
Friends of the Earth Scotland is also part of the Aldersgate Group, of businesses and NGOs, which wrote to the Chancellor yesterday urging him to enlarge the green stimulus to 20 per cent of the overall package, and ideally to at least £14.2bn in order to match the level of green spending promised by Barack Obama, US president.
Media contact: Owen Davis 0131 243 2719 (office) 0131 243 2715 (redirect to mobile)