Responding to the election of Boris Johnson as the new leader of the Conservative Party, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The new Prime Minister will arrive at Downing Street with a significant to-do list, not least to avoid the significant negative environmental impacts that would be associated with a sudden, no-deal Brexit. Beyond Brexit, the UK’s new net zero target and the promise of a landmark Environment Bill is a welcome backdrop for this new administration. Boris Johnson now has the opportunity to deliver a significant and concrete step up in action across government and ensure the UK is on a credible path to achieving its environmental ambitions. We need to see the introduction of a suite of new policies that will drive affordable business investment in the green infrastructure required to tackle and adapt to climate change – particularly to deliver urgent emissions cuts in buildings and transport and complete the cost-effective decarbonisation of the power sector. This will also help strengthen the position of UK businesses as global leaders in the provision of low carbon and environmental technologies and services."
Nick Molho added: "We look forward to seeing the Environment Bill introduced as early as possible in the next parliamentary session that sets in place an ambitious and robust legal framework to drive much needed improvements in our natural environment and increase the UK’s resilience to climate change. This should include the introduction of legally-binding targets in key areas such as air, water, soils, peatland, biodiversity and resource efficiency, and a fully independent Office for Environmental Protection.”
Reacting to Secretary of State Michael Gove’s environment speech today, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “We strongly welcome the Secretary of State laying out a clear political, economic and moral case to rapidly tackle environmental degradation. The Environment Bill isn’t only of significant importance to society and business – as Mr Gove rightly points out – but it is also core to the success of our overall environmental and climate policy as a healthier environment is critical to our ability to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
For the Bill to mark a genuine step change in environmental action, it is imperative that it contains an overarching objective to significantly improve the state of the natural environment. This objective must be supported by a comprehensive set of targets in secondary legislation aimed at improving key aspects of the natural environment such as air and water quality, soil quality, biodiversity and resource efficiency. This is essential to drive private sector investment in the years to come. By having legally binding targets and a comprehensive scrutiny and reporting regime that requires the government to take action to deliver them, the Bill will drive the recovery of our natural environment, grow our environment’s ability to absorb emissions and ensure that our homes, infrastructure and businesses are more resilient to the impacts of unavoidable climate change. It will also strengthen the position of UK businesses as global leaders in the provision of environmental technologies and services.”
Welcoming the launch of the Green Finance Strategy today, Alex White, Policy Manager at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The UK’s first ever Green Finance Strategy is an important step in delivering the necessary investment for our 2050 net zero emissions target and the ambition of the 25 Year Environment Plan. There are several good announcements today. For example, the new £5m Green Home Finance Fund is a positive move for incentivising domestic energy efficiency investment, and the launch of the Green Finance Education Charter will be vital in ensuring the UK financial sector has the skills and expertise to lead the flourishing international green finance market.”
“We welcome the recognition that private finance has a key role in tackling climate change and enhancing resilience, but the government must enable it to do so through the right policy framework. This Strategy must now be accompanied by an update on the Clean Growth Strategy based on the new net zero target, with binding regulations and market mechanisms to increase investment in zero carbon buildings, industry, transport and natural climate solutions.”
Alex White added: “Widespread and consistent adoption of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations is necessary to create a level playing field, ensure comparability and future-proof businesses and investors against the financial impacts of climate change. We urge government to send a clearer signal that TCFDs will become mandatory by 2022 if voluntary take-up remains insufficient.”
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 The Aldersgate Group published a report on green infrastructure investment in March 2018, Towards the new normal: increasing investment in the UK’s green infrastructure which considers changes to financial regulations to encourage long-term investment in green infrastructure and greater mandatory business disclosure of climate and environmental risks to better inform investment decisions, alongside recommendations on targeted public spending to crowd in private sector investment in complex projects and greater policy detail to deliver a cost-effective pipeline of green infrastructure projects.
 The Aldersgate Group was also part of the government’s Green Finance Taskforce which released its recommendations in March 2018. http://greenfinanceinitiative.org/workstreams/green-finance-taskforce/