Under pressure for his management of the coronavirus epidemic, pressed by the clock in negotiations with Brussels on Brexit, forced into solitary confinement at 10 Downing Street for having been a contact case, Boris Johnson has decided to counterattack on a land where, a priori, we expected little: ecology.
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The British Prime Minister was to detail, Wednesday November 18 the “10-point plan for a green industrial revolution ” presented the night before by his government. A project that does not lack ambition since it claims to make the United Kingdom the world leader in the fight against global warming.
More than 13 billion euros mobilized
Covering the fields of energy, transport, construction, finance, research and nature protection, this plan plans to mobilize £ 12 billion of public investment (€ 13.4 billion ) with the hope of multiplying this amount by three by leveraging the private sector. The government estimates that this green revolution will create 250,000 highly skilled green jobs.
The most commented measure concerns the announcement of the ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, ten years earlier than expected. If this commitment is kept, it would put the United Kingdom ahead of France and Spain, which have set their transition around 2040. Only Norway has a more ambitious target since it has planned a similar ban in 2025.
At the same time, the United Kingdom intends to support the automotive industry to meet the challenge of the electric car, promising to put public money to encourage the purchase of low-emission vehicles via bonuses, to develop the recharging network and build an electric battery industry.
A historic turning point
“The United Kingdom will be the first G7 country to have decarbonised its road transport”, welcomed Downing Street, which is going a little quickly since the measure only affects the fleet of individuals.
Nevertheless, it has been hailed by a number of British environmental defense associations. “It is an excellent example of quality recovery, as good for the economy as for the planet”, said Greg Archer, director of the NGO Transport & Environment in the United Kingdom. “ A historic turning point in climate action ”, adds Greenpeace who, however, challenges the choices made in terms of energy policy.
Because the “Green revolution” of Boris Johnson does not stop at the car. His government also plans to quadruple the production of electricity from offshore wind, a sector where the United Kingdom is already among the European champions; to acquire a capacity of 5 gigawatts produced from hydrogen or to develop a network of 16 mini nuclear power plants capable of each supplying a city of 450,000 households.
Restoring the coat of arms of the kingdom
In addition, there is a whole series of measures ranging from thermal renovation of public buildings and private homes to carbon capture projects, including the planting of 30,000 hectares of trees per year and financial reforms to attract green investments.
In terms of ecology, the United Kingdom has often played the pioneering role. In 2013, it became the first country in the Union to impose a carbon tax on its companies. In 2019, the first to include in a law the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050.
The surprise comes from what Boris Johnson takes over the policies of his predecessors on his own. No doubt he hopes that his “Green revolution” will revive the economy of regions – such as Yorkshire and the Midlands, the country’s industrial bases, Scotland and Wales – which have been hard hit by the crisis. But also to restore the image of the kingdom vis-à-vis the international community when the country is to host the climate conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, in November 2021.