'Prosperity for All': Wales unveils new short-term climate vision
The Welsh Government has published its much-anticipated climate roadmap for 2020-2025, which includes a commitment to plant 2,000 hectares of woodland annually.
Entitled ‘Prosperity For All: A Climate Conscious Wales’, the plan bolsters the nation’s long-term commitment to reduce net emissions by 95% by 2050, in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations.
Prioritising adaptation over mitigation, the plan comes in two iterations – one intended for adult readers, and the other for use in schools and by individual children and young people. Both versions echo the sentiment of a Green New Deal, linking progress on environmental issues to social sustainability, human health and wellbeing.
Among the key commitments included in the plan are measures to retrofit 25,000 homes with energy efficiency measures by 2021; to publish best-practice guidance for businesses and individuals in the built environment; and to plant 2,000 hectares of woodland annually between 2020 and 2030.
The plan also contains several ambitions without numerical, time-bound targets, such as reducing pesticide use, restoring peatlands and creating more green open spaces.
Additionally detailed are plans to develop further plans on issues including flooding, coastal conservation, fuel poverty, farming and drought – the latter of which will place a focus on water companies.
“The Welsh Government is on the side of people in Wales; we are striving for a more prosperous, equal and greener nation,” Welsh Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said.
“Climate change goes to the core of this ambition. There is no greater challenge facing Government, public bodies, businesses and third sector organisations and communities across Wales.
“Delivering our plan will be a challenge, but we must all adapt and we must all commit to protecting our nation for current and future generations. Success will mean Wales is a climate-conscious nation, aware of the risks facing us, whilst being prepared and ready to adapt to the impacts before they occur.”
The publication of Wales’ plan comes as world leaders and business representatives prepare to meet in Madrid for COP25 – the UN’s annual winter climate summit. The UN is using the occasion to highlight the findings of its recent ‘emissions gap’ report, and to call for more action in aligning with the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious 1.5C trajectory.