‘What we need is a planned approach to reducing unnecessary industrial activity that has no connection to human welfare and that also disproportionately benefits already wealthy people as opposed to ordinary people. So, there are much more equitable, just and carefully planned ways to approach this kind of problem than what is happening now.’
Discussing how the UK can recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and make the necessary changes to address the climate and ecological emergency, Professor Kevin Anderson said:
‘10 to 20 percent of the houses [in the UK] are in fuel poverty. We should be retrofitting all of the 25 million houses in the UK so they are fit for the 21st and the 22nd century – that is a massive employment agenda, and would eliminate fuel poverty.
‘We need to be moving away from private transport and have really good quality public transport which poorer people in our society already have to use, but it’s low quality public transport – so that’s great public transport for large swathes of our society.
‘We have to electrify much of our energy system, at the moment 80 per cent of our energy system is not electricity, and we need to make much more of that electrical, and much more efficient – now that’s really good job prospects that help many people around our society.
‘We also need to make sure that these jobs are well paid, which means people like me as professors need to take a large cut in our salary and there is nothing wrong with that. We need to re-adjust where we hand out the resources in our society, and if Covid-19 tells us anything it tells us that a care worker, or a nurse, is worth at least as much as a merchant banker.’
Low carbon recovery
On the same topic, Professor Sam Fankhauser, co-director of the Grantham Research Institute and former Deputy Chief Economist at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, said:
‘As we move into rebuilding the economy we can pay attention to the carbon intensity of the stimulus packages that we have, and there are a lot of things that need to happen in a low carbon or zero carbon economy that are consistent with a rapid boost to the economy.
‘The three tests that economists use for a good stimulus is that they have to be timely, targeted and temporary. There are a lot of climate change measures that fall into that category so we can have a low carbon recovery, I think that’s absolutely possible.’
We can’t return to the status quo
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London and chair of the World Health Organisation’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, Sir Michael Marmot, said:
‘What the Covid crisis exposes is that we can do things differently. We must not go back to the status quo, we cannot do that.
‘So what I would like to see, and we are seeing it at some regional levels within the UK, as well as some other countries, is putting the likely impact on health equity at the heart of all policymaking. That would lead to better environmental policy, it would lead to better social policy, it would lead to better healthcare policy and better political policies.
‘I’d like to see a wellbeing economy emerge from this crisis.’