BREAKING: Combine quarterly GDP report with environmental progress, Downing Street told

The Environmental Audit Committee is calling for a regular ‘stocktake’ to determine if economic growth and environmental goals can be achieved together. 

A group of UK MPs including representatives from the Labour, Conservative, and Green parties has issued a request to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and National Statistician for a quarterly report combining figures on progress in Britain’s efforts to lower emissions and rebuild its economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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The Environmental Audit Committee believes that while GDP is a useful headline figure to determine economic growth, this fails to take into account environmental issues and social capital. Among other factors, Cambridge economist Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has warned that depreciation of the country’s natural assets is being missed from reports on national prosperity. 

Crucially, in order for goals on nature and climate to be met, all decisions relating to taxation, spending, financial regulation and project appraisal must be made through an environmental sustainability lens. By tying information on things like greenhouse gas levels with details of GDP – traditionally released every four moths – policymakers, commentators, and media will be better placed to assess the overall state of the UK. 

‘GDP has been a useful indicator for decades, but it can play a more useful role in the next 30 years alongside greener metrics as the UK strives to meet net zero,’ said Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt. Hon. Philip Dunne MP. ‘Publishing estimates for environmental performance and greenhouse gas emissions, alongside the quarterly release of GDP figures, will enable the public to see whether we are achieving economic growth while slashing emissions and improving environmental performance.

‘Ministers assure this Committee and others at regular intervals that the whole of Government is committed to net zero,’ he continued. ‘We are concerned at the significant and worrying gap between ambition and implementation on climate policies. The UK is currently falling behind in meeting its future carbon budgets: we must pull out all the stops to ensure that economic policy is not viewed in isolation from climate and environmental policy.’ 

In related news, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that the current global economic system is ‘incompatible with life on Earth’. 

Image credit: João Barbosa


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