Forward thinking Tories paint a green picture

A green economy will be so integrated into business practice that the term will no longer be relevant, according to progressive Conservatives who have laid out their vision of the country in 2020.

Known as the 2020 Group, the MPs yesterday published a pamphlet, 2020 Vision – An Agenda for Transformation, which includes forecasts and recommendations on the nature of a sustainable economic future.

Authors of the relevant chapter, Laura Sandys and Claire Perry, argue that in order for businesses to be more resilient and successful, they need to be protected from exposure to volatile prices from commodities such as imported fuel and excesses of water.

They argue that business terminology itself would change significantly with the terms ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ becoming redundant. Instead companies will become specifically described as fossil fuelled and regarded as having archaic, insecure and unethical business models.

The MPs also claim that the term ‘renewable’ will cease to be used because renewable power would be the norm.

Sustainable energy, they maintain, would be just as much about economic success as it would be about reducing emissions and tackling climate change.

“The economic arguments will have reversed, with companies’ reliance on fossil fuels being deemed the really expensive risky option,” they say.

According to the authors, the need to adopt a new economic model is evident. Globally there will be a race for energy, water, and food.

Energy consumption will grow by 33% over the next 20 years they claim.

In addition, water will be priced and charged, adding cost to international products, particularly food, and commodity prices, which will increase significantly.

The vision refers to former chief scientific advisor, from 2000 to 2007, Sir David King’s comment: “Sustainable economic growth is achievable. Those industries that can combine efficiencies with growth will be the winners in the low-carbon economy.

“And given the rise in global oil prices, those that find alternatives to fossil fuels will be well placed.”

The MPs argue that the Government needs to be the “chief cheerleader in greening the UK’s economy”, and while it cannot be responsible for establishing a green economic model, it is capable through initiatives such as the Green Deal, of smoothing the wheels of the transition.

Ultimately the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy sector will determine whether or not the UK will have a resilient economy and this “is not easy” they insist.

£200bn is needed to renew the energy infrastructure, and the authors are sympathetic to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) who they describe as unique in having to grapple with a complex series of competing pressures.

Conor McGlone

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