The Guardian reports the UK’s climate targets will cost the government less over the next 30 years than the price of battling the Covid-19 pandemic if it acts quickly, according to the UK’s fiscal watchdog.
Forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) show that ending the UK’s contribution to the global climate crisis would add 21% of GDP to the national debt by 2050, or £469bn in today’s terms. But those costs could climb twice as high if the government delays action to cut emissions.
The independent spending forecasts found that taking early action to decarbonise the economy would have a smaller net impact on the UK’s finances than Covid or the 2008 financial crisis.
The Guardian reports there will be a rise in the scale of sewage discharge into rivers and waterways due to extreme weather events as a result of the climate crisis, MPs have been told.
Nature-based solutions must be a top priority for the government and the water regulator, Ofwat, when it comes to water companies’ investment over the coming decades, MPs heard. By 2050, the English sewerage system would face a 55% increase in water flowing through the network as a result of increased urbanisation and the removal of natural surfaces, which help water drain away.
The Guardian reports the trial, involving seven farms in Devon and scientists from Rothamsted Research and the Organic Research Centre, is the brainchild of Luke Dale-Harris of the charity Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. It is being co-funded by the Woodland Trust and Innovative Farmers, a Soil Association programme helping farmers participate in agricultural research.
Lowland Britain’s prevailing livestock tradition of fields stocked with a high number of animals grazing near-monocultures of grass only works in the landscape and economy of the past 50 years that provided predictable weather and artificial fertilisers, argues Dale-Harris.
The climate crisis, and a series of recent spring and summer droughts – including this year – have driven farmers to look for alternatives. Plenty of Devon farmers were keen to join the trial. The climate emergency, he says, is a catalyst for change that “involves working more closely with natural processes, which can only be a good thing”.
The Times reports Scotland’s moth population has been badly damaged by climate change, experts have said. The latest research shows that moth abundance has almost halved, falling by 46 per cent between 1990 and 2018 and still dropping. Yet the study showed moth occupancy — the distribution of the insects across Scotland — has risen by 16 cent between 1990 and 2016.
Climate change is likely to be an important factor behind the trends, driving some species north, with corresponding surges in occupancy. At the same time, warmer, wetter winters have been shown to affect some moths badly while others suffer from detrimental land management and habitat changes.
The Guardian reports regenerating native woodland, restoring grassland and rewetting peatland must be priorities when tackling the “two defining crises of our age”, according to the first complete assessment of how UK nature-based solutions can combat the climate and biodiversity crises.
More than 100 ecologists examined how all kinds of landscapes – from urban to agricultural to coastal – could be enhanced to maximise carbon retention, biodiversity and human wellbeing.
The Independent reports researchers for Natural England carried out a comprehensive survey of the role different types of natural habits in Britain play in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, looking at forests, grasslands, heathlands, salt marshes and seagrass meadows and how much they store in their soils, sediment and vegetation.
They found that undisturbed woodlands and peat bogs had the highest rates of carbon sequestration, with a hectare of ancient woodland capable of storing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide each year that would be emitted from 13 plane journeys between London and Rome. A 10-metre deep fenland peat bog can store eight times as much carbon as the equivalent area of tropical rainforest.
The Guardian reports one of the UK’s most eminent environmental scientists has called the government’s failure to block a new coalmine in Cumbria “absolutely ridiculous”. Prof Sir Robert Watson said the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle the climate crisis was “wonderful”, but that there had to be a focus on immediate actions.
The UK is hosting a UN climate summit and Boris Johnson has pledged to lead a green industrial revolution.
The Guardian and Business Fast report a huge amount of effort and planning will be required to fulfil Boris Johnson’s 10 pledges to tackle the climate emergency – by Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK. After many weeks of speculation, the prime minister has finally announced his “10-point plan” for a green industrial revolution.
A recent analysis by Green Alliance showed that the UK is on course to reduce its emissions by less than a fifth of what’s required for its next round of climate targets. Joint analysis in September by The Climate Coalition, including Greenpeace, WWF, the Women’s Institute, National Trust and the RSPB concluded that at least £95bn of government investment is needed over the rest of this parliament to build back better and deliver a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient society.
ENDS REPORT reports the environment minister Lord Zac Goldsmith has signalled his support for a ban on peat burning and expressed concern that nature based climate solutions are being “utterly neglected”.
According to conservation charities RSPB and WWF, protecting existing carbon stocks in the UK will secure the equivalent of 16,231 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) – the amount of 36 years-worth of UK emissions at 2018 levels.
The Telegraph reports Britain’s garden birds could be wiped out in 80 years if climate change continues to accelerate, research from the University of Oxford has warned. Warmer weather earlier in the year could disrupt the delicate ecosystem balance which keeps the little birds which visit our gardens alive.