Corporate coterie to combat climate change

Responsible business will be in the vanguard of bodies facing up to the challenge of cutting carbon emissions, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson.

At the joint DTI and Defra pow wow on climate change and business at London’s Café Royal last week (see related story), Mr Johnson announced the formation of a new group to look at carbon sequestration and related issues with a flurry of colourful comments.

“Twenty years ago, those people who warned against global warming were considered to be eccentric – the sort of people who ate lentils and listened to the Incredible String Band,” the minister told delegates.

“The Rubik’s Cube of national opinion has been turned over several times since then. And all of the squares are now falling into place.

“There is no pouch of fairy dust to sprinkle over these complex issues.

“We need to work at this together over the long term.”

Mr Johnson said business as usual was no longer an acceptable approach and that he was pleased to formally announce the launch of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, a group of 11 businesses which had teamed up to look at how sequestration could play a role in addressing climate change.

“Their work will complement the £40 million Carbon Abatement Technology Strategy that we announced in June,” he said (see related story).

The minister also used his speech to make it clear the Government has not ruled out a prominent role for nuclear power in the energy mix of the future.

“We need to have a hard headed look at the latest nuclear technology to see if the issues around cost and waste make it a viable and acceptable form of generation compared to other options,” he said.

“We must make sure our environmental focus does not put business at a competitive disadvantage.

“We know we can only lead successfully by working with the business community.”

By Sam Bond

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