From our Swindon correspondent:
From the BBC
Tackling climate change must be woven into the solution to the Covid-19 economic crisis, the UK will tell governments next week.
Environment ministers from 30 countries are meeting in a two-day online conference in a bid to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The gathering is called the “Petersberg Climate Dialogue”.
It will focus on how to organise a “green” economic recovery after the acute phase of the pandemic is over.
The thing with “the environment” is that it’s mostly about us. It’s a late 20th/21st century Western luxury. We moved out from the country to smoggy cities in the 19th and early part of the 20th century because we liked full bellies over empty ones, and would trade sooty air for that. We then got rich enough through that that we could trade some cash to make cities cleaner by insisting on more environmental laws.
Whatever environmental measures someone comes up with at least have short term costs and long-term benefits. Coming out of our hibernation and into the sun is going to probably be a sharp wake up call, especially when we count the debt that governments owe. Adding more to this in the short term, whether it’s to pay for something sensible like nuclear power stations, or something stupid like trains, is a bad idea. The priority is getting the economy running again, getting unemployment down, which means not adding more costs to people, and dealing with that giant pile of debt.