UK remains off pace with green plan
LAST week, the CBI released its fourth climate change tracker, a tool used to monitor progress against the priorities set out in the CBI's 2007 climate change report, Climate Change: Everyone's Business.
This latest tracker shows that we still don’t yet have the right mix of low-carbon policies to significantly drive down greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the biggest challenges for the new Government is to rapidly accelerate progress in cutting carbon, while growing the economy.
With the recent announcement that Westminster would transfer responsibility for national planning decisions from the Infrastructure Planning Commission to ministers, the CBI feels it is crucial that decisions affecting infrastructure projects, especially those in power-generation, must be made swiftly.
The 2008 Climate Change Act provides the basis for the UK to become a low-carbon economy. Some progress has been made but now we need much faster progress to attract the £150bn needed for investment in new low-carbon energy infrastructure alone.
As the new tracker looks ahead to the next six months, there is uncertainty around the capacity of a reformed planning system to deliver timely decisions and the shape of electricity market reform, which could put investment in low-carbon technology at risk.
We also need to boost efforts on home energy efficiency, and ensure UK industry can remain competitive while making its contribution to building a low-carbon economy.
There is no room for complacency, the UK must take action to meet its targets. Business has a vital role to play in delivering change. Given a clear, long-term policy framework, the private sector will invest in new low-carbon energy infrastructure. Firms should push ahead in areas that can make sense without Government support, investing in energy efficiency and developing low-carbon products and services to engage consumers.
The CBI has set out the actions that need to be taken by Government and business during the next six months. They include: ensuring decisions on a new planning system encourage investment in low-carbon infrastructure, reforming the electricity market to give the private sector confidence to invest and introducing new finance measures to ensure 10 million homes are insulated by 2015.
Climate change presents some of the biggest challenges facing the UK and will require action from all of us if we are to both solve the problem and maximise the commercial potential this creates.
Sarah Green is regional director of CBI North East.