The IPPR has launched a new paper in which it has called for the UK to have a Sustainable Economy Act, extending climate change laws to the wider environmental breakdown.
On 1 August, it explained that these extended laws would cover issues such as biodiversity, soil fertility and air quality. The Sustainable Economy Act would set binding targets to protect the health of a wider range of natural systems and enable the UK to enshrine existing European Union safeguards into domestic law, post-Brexit. It warned some of these are set to fall away without new legislation.
The IPPR also called for a new committee on sustainability – similar to the Committee on Climate Change, as well as a new enforcement body to hold the government to account. This body would have greater powers than those already planned for the UK’s new Office of Environmental Protection. It also recommended deeper changers to prevailing economic models. This would include new conception of prosperity and living standards, rapid increases in green investment, and a lead role for both state and local communities.
Laurie Laybourn-Langton, IPPR Associate Fellow and lead author of the paper, explained that with the Climate Change Act 2008 and the UK’s target of net-zero decarbonisation by 2050 effectively placing greenhouse gas constraint on the economy, it was key similar constraints are extended to all areas of environmental breakdown. This is something a Sustainable Economy Act could do. He added: “We urgently need to rethink economics so that we can continue to live within the UK’s and the planet’s means – protecting the many natural systems that are crucial to everyone’s ability to lead good lives in a way that is just, sustainable and prepared.”