Economy needs 'stable policies' to secure low-carbon future, says Aldersgate report

A new report from the Aldersgate Group has brought together voices from the economy, academia and civil society to spell out key priorities for meeting carbon targets.

Businesses and sustainability leaders urge a period of stable policy for a low-carbon future

Businesses and sustainability leaders urge a period of stable policy for a low-carbon future

The report – 'A Brighter, More Secure Future: Low carbon priorities for the new government' – released today (7 July) compiles contributions from leading figures across sectors to make the case to the Government for transitioning the UK to a low-carbon economy.

The Aldersgate Group’s report calls on policy makers to priorities the UK’s energy efficiency, push for strong international climate targets and provide clarity on the UK’s ambitions for low-carbon technologies.

The report is set to be debated in Guildhall in London tomorrow (8 July).

Aldersgate Group executive director Nick Molho said: “Last week’s report from the Committee on Climate Change showed that decarbonising the UK’s economy could be done affordably. This report goes further and shows that tackling climate change can provide significant economic opportunities for the UK and make our economy far more competitive and resilient to shocks in the future.”

The report, which included contributions from leaders at firms such as DONG Energy, Siemens, John Lewis and BT, called on government to ensure a period of stable, long-term policies on decarbonising the economy.

Stable policies

Joan Walley, chair of the Aldersgate Group, called on the government to push for a strong settlement at the climate change talks in Paris in December.

“But as many businesses in our report make clear,” added Walley, “the UK’s positive stance in international negotiations must be backed up by credible and stable policies at home to grow an efficient and low-carbon economy rapidly.”

Government subsidy cuts towards onshore wind have been previously cited as displaying a lack of coherent policy in the UK's efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with consultancy firm EY criticising policy on wind and solar energy.

Horrendous cost

In the Aldersgate Group report Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, called on the government to encourage the commercialisation of new technologies and criticised the status quo of fossil fuels: “Fossil fuels are sold at a price which doesn’t cover the costs they impose on the NHS, local authorities, and certainly not the horrendous cost they demand of the planet.

“Any fool can make a profit if he doesn’t include the real cost of production. He is also in a stronger position to keep out competitors if he already has paid for infrastructure.”

Infrastructure priority

A number of business leaders in the report called for greater investment in energy efficiency across the UK. The UK Green Building Council responded to the report, urging the Government to respond to business demands for making efficiency a national priority.

UK Green Building Council John Alker said: “Government faces a number of key decisions on major infrastructure projects, but none deliver the same package of benefits as energy efficiency, which should be considered a national infrastructure priority.”

The calls echo findings from the Confederation of British Industry last year, which found 96% of business leaders felt political uncertainty was discouraging investment in energy infrastructure. 

Matt Field


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