How can Edinburgh oversee a recovery from coronavirus and tackle climate change at the same time? Greens insist we cannot return to “business as usual”. So how to manage congestion, pollution, homelessness and inequality?
Before the coronavirus pandemic Edinburgh had set a target to be a net zero carbon city by 2030. That is an ambitious and necessary response to the biggest strategic challenge facing the world in the 21st century: climate change.
Of course, the pandemic has, understandably, loomed largest in 2020. It has created a massive shock to the economy, to services, to livelihoods and to the way we live our lives. No-one disputes that the path to recovery will be a long one – and that poses both a risk and opportunity. The risk is that the coronavirus pandemic will be cited as a reason to put the climate crisis on hold. “Let’s take a couple of years to get the economy back to normal”, the argument might go – “and then we can pick up the climate ambition again.”
That is the wrong choice.
It is the economy “as normal” which is feeding the climate crisis and we do not have time to spare to set it aside for a couple of years. At the same time, thousands of people have lost jobs and livelihoods overnight. So moving forward, how can we support new employment and training opportunities which are truly sustainable?
This is where the opportunity lies.
This report by the Green Councillor group outlines a ten-point plan for a Green Recovery in Edinburgh – a green recovery for jobs, for quality of life and for a sustainable Edinburgh.
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