With climate change an impending reality, you might think that the government would take the opportunity of an economic crisis to invest heavily in renewable energy, or greater energy efficiency, or public transport. It would make sense to make one’s stimulus packages as future-friendly as possible, after all.
South Korea, for example, has allocated 80% of their $38 billion stimulus package to environmental initiatives. China ear-marked 40% of November’s $586bn deal to green projects.
The UK government will present its budget next week, and its Pre-Budget Report includes a host of environmental measures, such as housing insulation, rail transport, and flood defences, to the tune of £535 million. Under closer examination, it turns out most of that money has been promised before, and the schedule has just been brought forward. The only new money available for green initiatives, out of the whole £20 billion stimulus, is £100 million for better heating for low-income households, and £5 million for British Waterways. Compared to Korea’s 80% and China’s 40%, the £105 million in the government’s new stimulus package adds up to a grand 0.6% for green initiatives.
We will have to wait and see what the government has in its budget, but as OneHundredMonths say in their full page ad in today’s papers, ‘nature doesn’t do bailouts’.