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Glasgow climate deal misses historic chance to build back greener in the UK and produce a new tax system that promotes sustainable spending

The UK Government’s proposals on rebuilding a greener economy are almost non-existent writes Alex Altmann.

A missed opportunity

The COP26 climate conference has fallen short in promoting UK business innovation to help tackle the climate crisis and quantifying the financial needs of severely hit countries.

One simple way of creating a greener economy is to introduce a UK tax system that promotes sustainable spending. We had the chance to build back greener after shutting down our economy in 2020. But the UK Government’s proposals on rebuilding a greener economy are almost non-existent, which is disappointing. A historic chance has been missed.

COP26 was an opportunity for the UK Government to lead by example on rebuilding an economy by fundamentally overhauling our financial system and tax code. The Government repeatedly said that the departure from the European Union has made it simpler to introduce change. However, both finance budgets in 2020 and 2021 were missed opportunities to provide that change.

Looking ahead to COP27

We also expected that the agreement would put more weight on business innovation in the UK. The introduction of clean technology is key to deliver zero-carbon economies around the globe. Setting tight emission rules for economies is important, but this must come together with a manifesto for funding green technology, a drive for business innovation and incentives for sustainable investment. It is disappointing that the COP26 agreement does not deliver for businesses. Again, COP27 must centre around businesses to achieve these tight emissions targets.

COP26 succeeded with an agreement between 197 nations under the UK’s leadership to further cut greenhouse gas emissions aimed to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, which deserves respect. However, a historic chance to fundamentally rebuild economies after the pandemic promoting sustainable investments and sanctioning high polluting industries has been missed.

International agreements usually contain enforcement and sanctioning procedures setting out rules for non-compliance. Effective mechanisms for not upholding the agreement’s goals are crucial to achieve the overall goal of a zero-carbon global economy.

The COP26 agreement comes short of such enforcement mechanisms and the focus of COP27 in Egypt next year should be to introduce such measures.

Would you like to know more?

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact your usual Blick Rothenberg contact or Alex Altmann, using the details on this page.

You can also visit our COP26 Hub for more articles written by our experts reacting to the conference.

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