A scrappage scheme to replace fossil fuel cars with battery electric versions should be considered as part of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery programme, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said.
CCC chief executive Chris Stark raised the idea at the final meeting of Climate Assembly UK, the citizens’ assembly formed by the House of Parliament to advise on how the UK can transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Government could introduce new incentives and regulations to phase out fossil fuel technology more rapidly and encourage people and businesses to spend money on replacing them with low carbon alternatives,” said Stark. “One idea is a ‘scrappage scheme’, which is a financial incentive to get rid of an old technology (like a gas boiler or old car) and replace it with a newer cleaner one, like a heat pump or an electric car.”
Stark acknowledged that the economic downturn meant private individuals were likely to find it harder to invest in things such as electric cars.
He echoed the view of environmental campaigners that any sector-specific financial assistance for the aviation sector should come with climate change strings attached (LTT 15 May). “There’s a great deal of debate about whether it’s right for a Government to prop-up a company that’s failing in the current crisis. If governments choose to do that, one approach that they can take is to attach conditions to any bailout or any support that they offer.
“We’ve seen that in France, for example, where the Government have indicated their support for Air France will be dependent on it meeting new climate targets.”
Stark speculated that the Government’s role in propping up the economy during Covid-19 might change public perceptions of state intervention.
“The Government has ‘stepped-in’ in quite an extraordinary way to our way of life, so we’ve seen some remarkable changes – they’ve acted very swiftly to introduce new measures that are very tough new laws to stop us coming into contact with one another so often.
“The Government in general is doing remarkable things including keeping money flowing in the economy.
“What we’ve seen in the last few weeks might have changed your view about what the government can or should do.”
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