The Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has welcomed the decision, which aligns climate, air quality and economic goals.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has decided to begin publishing statistics on emissions alongside Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in its quarterly reporting.
In an EAC analysis of Britain’s efforts to safeguard the economy and reduce its impact on the planet, Aligning the UK’s Economic Goals with Environmental Sustainability, a number of recommendations were made. These included adding emissions figures to those for GDP, because the two are intertwined in the 21st Century, and no country can ignore the need to improve both to ensure long-lasting prosperity and growth.
Crucially, it is hoped the UK’s already-notable progress on emissions could go much further now emissions statistics are to join GDP. This is because it will be easier to make decisions on tax, spending, project appraisal and financial regulation through ‘the lens of net zero and environmental sustainability’ if such figures are published.
‘A step change is needed from the economy of the past, to the economy fit for our net zero future: and how we report GDP is part of this journey. Net zero Britain will require policy in all areas to align with our environmental goals. But achieving net zero cannot come at the cost of economic prosperity, and vice versa,’ said EAC Committee Chairman, Rt. Hon Philip Dunne MP.
‘In accepting our Committee’s recommendation to publish emissions statistics alongside GDP, the Office for National Statistics will offer policymakers and commentators the tools to keep net zero on track while keeping a clear focus on economic progress. These aims can be achieved together: recently published analysis has confirmed that the full decarbonisation of our power system could come at a cost no greater than that of current policy plans on energy security,’ he continued.
Recently, figures for two City of London housing estates showed a significant reduction in air pollution levels.
Image credit: Mike Marrah