Al Gore urges UK to take ‘legacy of leadership’ to Paris

Former US Vice-President Al Gore has joined the chorus of business, civil society and political leaders calling on the UK Government to re-stabilise energy policy and take the helm of climate leadership ahead of the crucial Paris Summit.

Gore, who famously trumpeted the issue of climate change a decade ago with the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, is speaking at a major climate leadership event hosted by Green Alliance and the CBI in London today (22 September).

The Democrat will discuss the impacts of the climate crisis and the benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. He will also encourage the UK to bring its past international leadership on climate action forward to the Paris Climate Change Conference in December.

“The UK’s historic legacy of leadership on the most important moral issues faced by humanity, including the climate crisis, is long and has been recognised with respect by the community of nations,” Gore will say.

“It is time for the UK Government to honour and live up to that legacy, and return to its global leadership position, domestically and abroad, by supporting an ambitious international agreement in Paris that unleashes the power of the private sector to create a global clean energy economy.”

One direction

Gore is speaking alongside senior members from Green Alliance, CBI and Christian Aid at the event which aims to reiterate the need to accelerate technological change and political action to create further momentum towards a low-carbon economy.

Director-general of the CBI John Cridland will argue that certainty and clarity of direction from the international community is “critical to developing long-term business investment in a low carbon future”.

“Business must be – and wants to be – part of the solution to tackling the global challenge of climate change,” Cridland will say. “The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity, and the UK has built up real credibility on climate leadership and low carbon investment. Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.”

Following a period of controversial and often punitive energy policy announcements, Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer will call on the UK Government to “clear up the confusion” about what it is trying to achieve for the UK’s energy system.

Paris pledges

Spencer will say: “If the UK can re-stabilise its own energy policy, it stands to gain from the hard work and investment of the past two decades. We’re ahead of the world in bringing down the cost of offshore wind, phasing out the use of coal and, as today’s event shows, we have an enviable level of agreement between business and NGOs about the need to maintain the UK’s low carbon momentum.”

With 70 days remaining before the Paris climate talks, 64 countries – representing more than 60% of global emissions – have brought forward their intended, nationally-determined contributions towards a climate deal. The EU has pledged to cut its emissions by 40% compared with 1990 levels by 2030

Today’s event comes just over a week after the Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Lord Bourne called on businesses to “keep the pressure up” to secure an internationally-binding agreement to keep global warming below two degrees.

Luke Nicholls

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