11. Taking responsibility

Download a pdf version of the full report on how the government should address the Climate Emergency here.

UK Government leadership and responsibility in ensuring a fair and deliverable low-carbon transition

A transition to a low carbon future that doesn’t have fairness embedded in it is far less likely to succeed, and will have much less legitimacy. It is also undesirable in and of itself. Yet it is not a given that a rapid climate transition will lead to the creation of high volumes of decent, secure new work here in the UK. A proactive and well-funded strategy is required, led by central Government, working in collaboration with empowered local authorities, unions and other relevant stakeholders, so that the green transformation is also one in which UK communities feel engaged and can flourish.

International responsibility

• Ratchet up the UK’s international contribution under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions for 2030), to ensure it is in line with containing global warming to 1.5C, and reflective of the need for international leadership from the UK, given its historic emissions 

• Continue to deliver the full allocation of climate finance for less developed countries, agreed under UNFCCC rules

Responsibility to UK communities

• Sufficiently fund central and local government to support and facilitate a just, fair and democratic transition from industries like fossil fuels to renewables

• Develop and sufficiently fund regional industrial diversification strategies, including investment in training, reskilling and relocation where required and where local consent is obtained, for areas that are currently dependent on high carbon sectors (particularly oil, gas, coal, high intensity farming and vehicle manufacture). This will ensure that the next generation can access economic opportunities, and prevent a repeat of the social devastation caused by the shutdown of the coal mines

• Work with unions to ensure greater protection in new low carbon sectors, to ensure that jobs in clean energy are safe, secure and receive a decent wage. Past examples where workers were paid half the minimum wage to help construct an offshore wind farm should not be repeated

• Ensure significant local content proportions for clean technology deployment. This includes ensuring a steady pipeline of infrastructure projects (e.g. through the wind and solar capacity targets above), as well as using levers like public procurement, regulation and investment to support supply chains to expand in the UK

Local authorities

• Ensure local authorities have the necessary powers, money, skills, expert support and reporting/ evaluation/ enforcement functions to deliver on local dimensions of the transition to a net zero carbon economy. This is particularly pertinent for delivery in sectors like low carbon heating and transport infrastructure.