The Green New Deal for Adaptation- Spotlight on the United Kingdom

In the series of articles by our Youth Newsroom reporters, Injy Johnstone sees that the United Kingdom has taken a leadership role on climate change.

Thousands of the world’s scientists have called for the economic stimulus to address Climate Adaptation and Covid-19. The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, hosted on the 25-26th of January paves the way forward for this to happen.

Leadership role

The United Kingdom, in particular, has taken a leadership role on climate change. Not only has it decarbonised its economy significantly with emissions levels not seen since the 1800s, it has also importantly announced the start of its “Green Industrial Revolution” in November 2019.

Appearing in the High Level Leaders portion of the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson likened climate change to COVID-19, stating that we need both a cure through a focus on net-zero emissions but equally a focus on alleviating the symptoms of it through adaptation and resilience measures.

Yet it is not just at home that climate adaptation remains important, rather, it is also how countries like the United Kingdom pioneer adaptation priorities around the world.

Priorities

Her Excellency Joanna Roper, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to The Netherlands, graciously took the time to speak with me on the climate change priorities of the United Kingdom both at CAS 2021 and beyond. In particular speaking on the Adaptation Action Coalition, launched by Boris Johnson yesterday.

The Adaptation Action Coalition was formed by the United Kingdom in partnership with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, The Netherlands, Saint Lucia and the United Nations. It will tap scientists, businesses and civil society groups to share knowledge and best practice on local, regional and global solutions to dealing with climate change. Ambassador Roper stated that the mix of global south and global north countries are key in this dynamic in order to ensure robust information exchange and learning could be had on all sides.

This highlights that some of the most vulnerable to climate change, have also contributed the least to it. For this reason, Ambassador Roper spoke of gender equality being another key thread that runs through the climate change work of the United Kingdom and at COP26, of which the United Kingdom has joint presidency with Italy.

Ambassador Roper talked about how The Netherlands and the United Kingdom share climate change as a Government priority. With both countries being hosts of key climate change conferences the two countries have worked collaboratively to ensure that their respective CAS and COPs are unified in their vision for strong climate change action.

As a PhD researcher analysing the legal opportunity to put climate change at the heart of the economic recovery to COVID-19, countries stepping up and taking leadership in this way is crucial in ‘building back better’. Investing in climate adaptation as part of the economic stimulus packages from COVID-19 helps ensure that the livelihood of both the people and planet is better protected.

As youth, we must commend countries such as the United Kingdom for their climate initiative, whilst ensuring that pressure is put on climate laggards of the world in order. Ensuring a green new deal on climate adaptation has never been more important than in 2021- the year of climate change.