Adding TLC to UK Plc: Two Government Ministers Explain Why They Think That British Business Is Perfectly Placed to Lead the World's Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy
Barker, Greg, Henley, Lord, Financial Management (UK)
Climate change is not all about vulnerability and exposure. There are massive opportunities for UK business, both in cutting carbon and in building resilience. They present a chance for the private sector to lead a new industrial revolution and be part of a green, low-carbon and resilient economy that meets the nation's ambitious climate-change targets.
UK business must grab the first-mover advantage, therefore, and not sit on the sidelines. It needs to lead the way in building resilience to the effects of a changing climate. We've made a great start in cutting our greenhouse gas emissions, but under the Climate Change Act 2008 the UK's emissions must fall by at least 34 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020--and by at least 80 per cent by 2050.
This will entail a profound change in the way that energy is supplied and used. It means that virtually every form of economic activity will have to cut its carbon impact significantly. And, while we're moving towards a low-carbon economy, we will also need to accommodate the impacts of the climate change that we have already caused.
Tens of billions of pounds of investment are already heading for the low-carbon sector, so tens of thousands of green jobs are ripe for creation over the coming decade. We estimate that the global market for low-carbon and environmental goods and services is worth [pounds sterling]3.2trn now and will exceed [pounds sterling]4trn by 2015. But the green economy isn't only about producing energy more cleanly; it's also about growing the market for products that consume less energy. Indeed, energy efficiency will be the mark of a globally competitive company.
The government is committed to providing the transparency, longevity and certainty that businesses need in order to invest in the low-carbon future. To this end, our comprehensive spending review has earmarked up to [pounds sterling]1bn for the world's first carbon capture and storage demonstration plant. It has also provided extra investment in offshore wind farms, in which the UK has a first-class research capability.
We will create a green investment bank to help boost low-carbon investment. And we will be consulting on reforms to the climate-change levy with the aim of providing more certainty and support to the carbon price. In Europe we are lobbying for an increase in the EU emissions reduction target from 20 per cent by 2020 to 30 per cent and pressing for further energy market reforms to promote low-carbon generation. …