Calls for 2030 carbon target gather pace

More than 50 organisations and businesses have called for the government to introduce a power sector carbon target to allay uncertainties in the British energy market.

In an open letter to the Chancellor George Osborne, on the day of his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, signatories claim that only greater clarity from the government can stimulate the
£110bn investment required to transform the UK’s electricity infrastructure and drive wider economic benefits.

The letter warns that recent statements calling for unabated gas in the power sector post 2030 are damaging business confidence in the low carbon economy and undermining major investments capable of delivering growth.

Referring to figures contained in the report called ‘The Colour of Growth’, recently published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the letter points out that ongoing policy uncertainty could cause the UK to lose almost £400m in net exports in 2014/15.

In the same report, the CBI also calculates that by taking a more coherent and strategic approach to decarbonisation, the UK’s economy could be boosted by just under £20bn.

The letter was signed by investors, industry bodies, trade unions and environmental groups including ASDA, Sky, Marks & Spencer and Microsoft.

It states that “the Government’s perceived commitment to the low carbon transition is being undermined by recent statements calling for unabated gas in the power sector beyond 2030 and the absence of a specific carbon intensity target.” It also notes that the Committee on Climate Change has advised the Government that extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity post-2030 is incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets.

Chairman of Aldersgate Group, which co-ordinated the letter, Peter Young said: “The message of this letter is loud and clear: we must put an end to any political uncertainty surrounding the UK’s energy future and start unleashing the billions of pounds of overdue investment which will deliver new growth for our economy.

“Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties understand this huge growth opportunity and backed a 2030 carbon target for the power sector at their party conferences. Now the Conservative Party must step up to the mark and provide the full cross-party support which businesses have been calling for.”

Conor McGlone

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