UN climate chief hails progress as critics warn UK is ‘straggling’


UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa praised the EU as well as China and South Korea in comments made to the AP. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

UK’s ‘green industrial revolution’ met with scepticism as attitudes change on climate crisis

European Union progress towards climate goals has been “astounding”, according to the UN Climate  Chief Patricia Espinosa but opposition parties have accused the UK government of failing to meet the challenges of the crisis.

Ms Espinosa’s praise for the EU and other countries, including China and South Korea, comes in the wake of a change in attitudes on green policy by governments and businesses this year. 

“Just a few months ago, I don’t think anybody would have really predicted that we would see these kinds of announcements at this time. And especially in the middle of the pandemic,” the head of the UN climate office told the AP news agency.

President-elect Joe Biden has been among those to address these issues, saying that he intends to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement once in office. Separately, Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, announced the world’s largest money managers had doubled its climate change investments in 2020.

The Financial Conduct Authority has also restated plans to make premium listed public companies in the UK accountable to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) by 2023. The TCFD has a framework to help public companies disclose climate-related risks and opportunities in annual reports and financial disclosures. in annual reports and financial statements

Meanwhile, opposition parties have criticised the UK Government’s failure to keep up with international standards on climate despite the UK prime minister’s announcement of plans for a ‘green industrial revolution’ earlier this week.

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said: “If Boris Johnson thinks this is an adequate response to the climate and nature crises, he hasn’t studied them hard enough.”

Labour has also criticised the prime minister’s climate plans, saying it would not be enough to tackle the issue of mass unemployment caused by the pandemic. Youth unemployment has reached its highest level in four years, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodd has previously criticised the UK government’s lack of ambition on climate, highlighting how its pledge of a £5bn budget for green investment compared unfavuorably to Germany’s £36bn budget.

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