Liberal Democrats

F21: A Green Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Motion as passed by conference

10 members

Mover: Sarah Olney MP (Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, Energy and the Environment).

Summation: Duncan Brack.

Conference notes that:

  1. Despite the extensive economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, global emissions of greenhouse gases are projected to fall by only four to seven per cent during 2020.
  2. The need for government intervention to ensure that the UK economy recovers from the impacts of the lockdown offers an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild the economy to face the climate emergency.
  3. A climate-friendly recovery is better for the economy as well as the environment as it generates more jobs and is less prone to offshoring than orthodox recovery packages.
  4. A healthy, biodiverse, accessible natural environment will be vital for facing the climate emergency and has been vital for supporting people’s mental and physical health through lockdown, with over half of people reporting increased awareness and appreciation of green space this year in polling.

Conference believes that:

  1. Excluding the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency is the biggest issue facing the UK and the world.
  2. The Government has so failed to face up to this challenge and, in particular, has failed to publish a comprehensive programme to achieve net zero emissions or to achieve an early rapid reduction of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. The economic recovery must focus on green growth, creating new green jobs, cutting emissions and protecting the environment.

Conference reaffirms pledges in the Liberal Democrat 2019 manifesto to:

  1. Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions by 2045 at the very latest.
  2. Undertake a ten-year programme to retrofit homes and business premises by 2030 to reduce emissions, cut energy bills and eliminate fuel poverty.
  3. Invest in renewable power so at least 80 per cent of electricity is generated from renewables by 2030, while permanently banning fracking.
  4. Plant at least 60 million trees a year and restore the UK's peatlands to absorb emissions and improve biodiversity.
  5. Invest in public transport, electrifying Britain's railways and ending the sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Set out plans for a green recovery from the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Ensure that a large proportion of new jobs created are ‘green jobs’ encouraging innovation in industry to adapt to a green economy, carry out an audit of the skills which will be required, and ensure those who are unemployed due to COVID-19 are helped to reskill to fill them.
  3. Refocus Treasury spending on to green projects and infrastructure such as investment in public transport instead of new roads.
  4. Put the UK on the path to net zero by adopting binding interim targets through the sixth carbon budget, due to be agreed in 2021.
  5. Place a duty on all government departments and local authorities to reduce emissions in areas they have responsibility for.
  6. Ensure that support packages for businesses recovering from the impacts of lockdown include, where appropriate, legally binding commitments to reduce emissions.
  7. Embrace the positive impacts of the lockdown, including encouraging more flexible working and increasing walking and cycling.
  8. Work as closely as possible with the EU in tackling the climate emergency, including joining the EU Emission Trading Scheme and fulfilling the UK's climate commitments jointly with the EU.
  9. Work to ensure that the delayed climate conference (CoP26) sees countries adopting much more ambitious emission targets than in their initial national plans.
  10. Ensure that biodiversity is at the heart of the green recovery, including ensuring its consideration at all levels of the planning process, building a comprehensive Nature Recovery Network to link habitats, and improving access to national parks and green spaces for all parts of society.

Applicability: Federal; except b) (lines 24-26) and 5. (lines 46-48), which are England only.

Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes.

For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 6.

The deadline for amendments to this motion is 13.00, Monday 14 September; see page 8. Amendments selected for debate will be printed in Conference Extra and Sunday's Conference Daily.

The deadline for requests for separate votes is 10.00, Saturday 26 September; see page 5. </pre>

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