Climate change; ‘a new hope’ following US election

Climate change; ‘a new hope’ following US election

BLOG · BY TTF CEO, DAVID HOPKINS · 26 January

Now the US has a President who believes in the science of climate change and has committed themselves to making the US – the world’s largest economy – Net Zero within the next 30 years, Boris Johnson is now under more pressure to meet his climate targets.

By all accounts, the last 10 months has been tough – for people and businesses. Between COVID-19 and now Brexit, it hardly needs to be stated why. However, there was one really positive piece of news this week – that the US is rejoining the Paris Agreement.

Multilateral coordination is the only way the world will be able to achieve rapid decarbonisation of the economy and reduce the impact of climate change. Whatever your views are of American politics, the absence of the US in this debate over the last four years has been keenly felt, and another four years would’ve reduced the prospect of hitting global emissions targets to “near-zero”.

It cannot be stated clearly enough the importance of political leaders stepping up and showing the backbone to make the investment, regulation, and tough decisions required over the next year to reduce emissions. This is the case on both sides of the Atlantic.

We can be thankful this year that, following the inauguration of Joe Biden, there is now a President in the White House who believes in the science of climate change, and has committed themselves to making the US – the world’s largest economy – Net Zero within the next 30 years. You can have a look through his proposed Climate Plan online.

Looking back across the Atlantic at Westminster, this will undoubtedly place greater pressure upon the Johnson Government to step up in relation to the UK’s climate targets. Last week the Government released its proposed Future Homes Standard –  which aims for new homes to have 75-80% lower carbon dioxide emissions than those built to current building regulations – but declined to bring forward its implementation sooner than 2025. As a result, householders buying homes in the next four years will be forced to spend in the region of £20,000 to retrofit their homes with energy efficiency measures and low-carbon technology. It would be far cheaper and more sensible for property developers, builders, home-owners and the planet alike if we did this upfront, taking a fabric-first approach to energy efficiency and low carbon construction.

Over the course of the year, we will continue to make our views keenly felt, and you can be assured there will be a full schedule of events promoting timber around COP26.

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