Our big green wish list: All we want for Christmas is…
As Christmas approaches, our environment editor Giles Crosse makes a wish or two for the Content Coms ‘Green Xmas’ stocking.
More low carbon energy
According to The Manufacturer, three-quarters (76 per cent) of large UK businesses are urgently searching for more efficient, low carbon energy sources in 2023.
Of five key sustainability priorities measured, switching to low carbon energy ranked as the highest priority.
Conversely, this priority is lower and has fallen since the last quarter amongst SMEs, who are instead prioritising sustainability measures they feel are more achievable in the wake of rising costs, such as recycling (51 per cent) vs low carbon energy consumption (44 per cent).
At Content Coms, we feel the target has to be firmly fixed on low carbon energy. The International Energy Agency has recently noted all long-term IEA scenarios that meet international climate goals feature a rapid decline in global coal emissions. Without this, it will be impossible to avoid severe impacts from a changing climate.
The point then is clear; the world and the UK still need to kick their coal addiction. If this is going to happen then we rapidly need to transition to other, more suitable energy sources.
In particular, we are keen on marine energy sources. The UK has among the world’s most potent tidal potential.
The Guardian notes that the cost of generating power from tidal streams has fallen by 40 per cent since 2018. A report published last month by a government-backed research centre, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, forecasts prices could fall below nuclear energy in little over a decade, with one-megawatt hour of power due to cost as little as £78 by 2035 compared with £92.50 for the new Hinkley Point C power plant.
Those figures speak for themselves.
So our first Xmas gift is: more, lower carbon power.
Keep the right law
The BBC reports that the Retained EU Law Bill poses a risk to UK businesses and our wider environment. The BBC says the Bill could endanger important worker, consumer and environmental rights derived from EU law, including holiday pay, safe working hours and protection from discrimination.
Laws on the labelling of meat and eggs and the ban on the slaughter of seals are at risk, plus many, many more. It’s key the UK develops and creates new regulations that keep the best of EU intentions while refining them to more perfectly suit the needs of UK businesses and people.
There’s a lot at stake. The BBC also notes that there are more EU-era environmental laws to review after Brexit than had been previously known, the environment secretary has suggested. Therese Coffey told peers around 1100 such laws existed. This is roughly double the number identified by the most recent official audit.
Under government plans, most EU-derived laws will expire after December 2023, unless specifically kept or replaced.
Environmental law charity Climate Earth has said it is almost inevitable that some laws in areas ranging from air quality to protected species could inadvertently fall victim to the deadline.
“The truth is, we must keep a real focus on green law,” comments Joanna Watchman, CEO and Founder, Content Coms.
“This December, we mustn’t take our eye off the ball. There is so much happening in a geopolitical context that we mustn’t let crucial green regulations slip off policy priorities over Christmas.”
So, our second Xmas gift is: the gift of green regulation.
As COP15 prepares to open, more than 10,000 scientists, government officials and activists will gather in Montreal for the world’s most important biodiversity conference, eager to hammer out a deal to stem habitat loss around the world and preserve sensitive ecosystems.
COP15 hopes to see countries agree on a major new set of rules for stemming and reversing nature loss called the “post-2020 global biodiversity framework” (GBF) – often referred to colloquially as the “Paris Agreement for nature”.
Sky News points out why this is all so important: global wildlife populations have plummeted almost 70 per cent in just 50 years, and an unprecedented one million species are now at risk of being wiped off the Earth forever.
And the UK is one of the worst-ranked in the world for the poor state of its wildlife and countryside.
“We cannot afford to let biodiversity perish,” comments Joanna Watchman. “Biodiversity is essential; across environment, business, people, politics. It is by maximising the numbers and the variety of Earth’s species that we enable the most thriving ecosystems.
“Right now, in the UK especially, we are failing on this. And we have to do better.”
The climate and nature crises are intertwined, Kew Gardens’ director of science, Professor Alexandre Antonelli, told Sky. “Biodiversity is absolutely critical to our lives and we losing it at an accelerating speed.”
Our third Christmas promise is: the hope of a biodiverse, vibrant global ecosystem for future generations.
A word of thanks
Finally, all of us at Content Coms would like to give the gift of thanks to all our friends, supporters and clients. We welcome your engagement with our work and we wish you all the very best across the Christmas period.
Much has taken place this year, in a strange world full of geopolitical strife and an ever-hastening climate crisis.
We wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a bit of a rest too. Here’s to lots of positives for the environment in 2023.