Power plant at sunrise

How can communities that lack investment benefit from achieving net zero?

With net zero and Levelling Up both in the news and very much on the UK Government agenda, there is a strong link between the two. Whilst it may seem from the outside that heavily funding one would take away funding from the other, however achieving carbon net zero, would benefit communities that are struggling to level up.

The Resolution Foundation think tank, alongside the London School of Economics published a report that outlines how funding net zero would allow underinvested parts of the country to create opportunities and generating growth.

Anna Valero, a senior policy fellow at the London School of Economics, has said:

“The scale of additional investment needed to make out net-zero ambition a reality has led some to focus excessively on costs, while others see it as the silver bullet that solves all our economic woes.

In reality, smart, net zero investment should be embedded in a wider economic strategy, especially as it could have the additional benefit of bolstering the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.”

With the government setting a goal of becoming completely net zero by 2050, the project is likely to cost billions of pounds every year as it must not only cut the emissions being produced, but also mitigate emissions that are unable to be cut.

The report does conclude that there needs to be more research conducted in order to define exactly what net zero would mean in terms of the creation of jobs, however a government spokesperson has been quoted as saying that it could support around 480,000 jobs in 2030. This is something that will be of great interest to those working on local authorities in areas where funding is more scarce, or the levelling up project is bigger than other areas, as these jobs are likely to be crucial to the government’s aims of reducing the regional inequalities in some areas, as well as providing key opportunities for residents.

PSE December/January 2024

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Public Sector Executive Podcast

Ep 48. Achieving Net Zero - Cllr Abdul Jabbar - Oldham Council

As central government aims for the UK to be net zero by 2050, councils around the country make plans for how to reduce emissions. This episode’s guest, Oldham’s Councillor Abdul Jabbar outlines the importance of coming together to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, the benefits of achieving net zero, and how Oldham Council are working to do just that.

Touching on the role that the public sector can play in sustainability, Cllr Jabbar said:

“I think it’s really important that the public sector gives true leadership in this space. I think something like one third of the carbon emissions in the country come from the public sector, so obviously we’re a big polluter in terms of the emissions.”

Councillor Jabbar also spoke about challenges being faced by organisations:

“I think the biggest one has been finance. Clearly the local government sector in particular has had its grants cut from central government by a huge amount and that’s had a very big impact in terms of our plans to take forward projects in relation to climate change, so that’s a major issue.”

To hear what Cllr Jabbar has to say about the mission to achieve net zero carbon emissions, listen to the latest episode of the Public Sector Executive Podcast.

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