NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum media release
Following on from last week’s 40th anniversary of the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) (1), the NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum publishes today a detailed report on how essential a ‘green recovery’ is in responding to the huge economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the important role Councils need to play within it across the island of Ireland. (2)
As the report notes, around the world many governments have committed more than $12tn to kick-start their economies ravaged by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is about 15% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and multiple times more than that put forward in the aftermath of the global financial crisis 10 years ago. However, Bloomberg has recently estimated that less than 0.2% of this money has been targeted at post-carbon economic priorities.
With climate efforts by governments worldwide currently insufficient to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, NFLA argue that strong green stimulus measures could help meet its core objectives if just a fraction of the Covid-19 fiscal stimulus is invested annually in a “climate-positive” recovery. Such a recovery would bring about multiple other benefits while stimulating the economy, such as job creation, stimulating innovation and technological developments. This has been highlighted by several recent reports, including a survey of over 230 experts worldwide and the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A ‘green recovery’ can be defined as:
- one that delivers for the long term;
- introduces policies that catalyse job creation into growth industries;
- and empowers citizens, improves public health and drives innovation while all the time removing our contribution to the climate crisis.
For a successful ‘green recovery’ governments must enable change, existing programmes must be accelerated, new and more effective partnerships must deliver, and local authorities must work with their citizens to build a resilient locality that meets their needs. There also needs to be a joint commitment to a Green Economic Recovery from both Local and National Government. Any public stimulus investment decisions should be conditional on a greener future.
The NFLA report considers the planned responses of the Irish and Northern Ireland Governments (and compares them with the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments) to delivering a green recovery. It welcomes some policies, but remains concerned that not enough investment has been announced in an area that could generate both new jobs and low carbon positive economic activity.
The report outlines some of the existing low carbon projects by councils across the island, but believes a step-change is required in powers and resources on the island of Ireland to bring such projects up to the ambition seen across the Irish Sea with councils in England, Scotland and Wales.
The report concludes that, for a net zero carbon energy system that is both fairer, cleaner, healthier and produces local economic benefits, then NFLA believes the number and scope of projects will need to increase dramatically and be replicated across every region, with the support of every community and local organisations. The evidence is that the public supports action against climate change, provided it is properly consulted and measures are implemented fairly. Now we need the Irish and Northern Irish governments to provide support at the local level, and with new resources and powers, to truly unleash a net zero carbon resolution as a crucial part of a ‘green recovery’ from this current pandemic.
The report concludes with 37 excellent recent examples where Councils of all political hue are developing as part of their climate emergency action plans from across the UK and Ireland, given the NFLA’s unique grouping across all parts of the two islands. Such examples emphasise that, despite the economic crisis many Councils are in, they still see the critical nature of working to a zero carbon future.
NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Co-Chair, Councillor David Healy said:
“This excellent and well-researched NFLA report highlights the critical need for a green recovery as one of the core responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The report shows the need for public consent and support for such work and how important a green recovery is to supporting communities badly damaged by the public health crisis. The report calls for a step-change in Ireland giving Irish Councils the powers and the resource to deliver inclusive and effective low carbon projects which provide high quality jobs and community benefit. I encourage councillors and council officers to read and act upon it. We will send this report to central government to take full account of the need for a strategic partnership with councils to deliver a green recovery.”
NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum Co-Chair Councillor Karen McKevitt, added:
“Northern Ireland Councils are all determined to be involved in tackling the climate emergency and delivering on a green recovery, but desperately need new resources and powers if they are going to do it more effectively. This report shows some fantastic examples where councils are delivering low carbon projects. It is clear a green recovery is essential for Northern Ireland to respond to Covid-19, and arguably Brexit as well. I urge councillors, council officers, government officials and ministers to read it.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for Editors:
(1) NFLA 40th anniversary webpage –
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 207 on a Local Authority Green Recovery is attached with this media release and is on the NFLA website https://www.nuclearpolicy.info