'Levelling up' through climate action
The APPG for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods last week published a report about climate change – entitled ‘levelling up through climate action’. It includes survey data on attitudes to climate change among the ‘left behind’ wards identified by the Local Trust. This reveals that those living in these communities are well aware of the new and pronounced risks which climate change could bring their communities.
There are sobering findings within the wider report, meanwhile. “Many ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods have local economies that are among the least resilient to rapid decarbonisation and structural change,” the paper says. “They face the potential of serious negative economic impacts caused by changes in the labour market and the consequences of adaptation to zero carbon in areas including energy, housing and transport.”
The think tank Onward have also released a new analysis called Thin Ice, which looks at levels of support for net zero. It identifies wide support for decarbonisation – although this drops off a little once the financial costs of achieving net zero are factored in.
The paper estimates the parliamentary constituencies where enthusiasm for the net zero aspiration is strongest and weakest. As the map below shows, the gap is not huge – with the mark out of 10 in the most supportive seats less than a point higher than that in the least supportive. But disparities do exist, according to their research, and are worth paying close attention to.
For targets like net zero to be achieved, the conventional ‘red-green’ tension will need to be resolved, so that environmental goals and economic ones are aligned. A major challenge, in the parts of the country where economic resilience is lowest, is to make sure that de-carbonisation provides a boost for jobs and opportunities as well as for the planet.