Low-carbon economy top priority for UK and Japan

The UK and Japan have jointly recognised the severity of the challenge posed by climate change and are pledging to work closer together to promote clean technology and low-carbon business.

A statement was released by the two countries yesterday (1 May) to mark the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the UK.

The statement highlights the opportunities for UK-Japan commercial partnerships in low-carbon goods and services – a sector now worth $5tn globally and growing at almost 4% a year.

“We share the view that without ambitious national and international action, climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to current and future generations and the planet,” it reads.

“We also recognise the huge economic opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy as a new driver of growth and jobs, and for greater security of energy supply.”

Global transition

The two Governments also welcome the recent ‘Fifth Assessment Report’ from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; which re-emphasises the urgent need for governments, businesses and individuals to tackle climate change.

Japan and the UK have previously collaborated on a number of joint energy efficiency projects. In March, the UK Government signed up to the Smart Community Project MOU with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). That agreement paved the way for 600 next-generation air-source heat pumps, to be fitted into council-owned homes in the Greater Manchester area.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said: “The UK and Japan both recognise the importance of investing in a diverse and clean energy mix in order to ensure a competitive economy, long-term security of supply and avoid dangerous climate change.

“I hugely value our partnership with Japan and am pleased to continue to work together to secure a global climate change deal in 2015 and support the global transition to a low carbon economy.”

Extreme caution

The statement concludes with a look ahead to next month’s inaugural UK meeting of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab), a partnership between senior decision makers in government, private investment and multilateral financial institutions.

Abe’s two-day visit to the UK follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s trip to Japan in April 2012. During that trip, ETI and Hitachi agreed to collaborate on the smart community project entitled ‘Smart Systems and Heat Project’.

The statement released by the two Government’s follows a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and WWF-UK, which noted that the economic modelling used by the UK Treasury to assess the costs of action on climate change ‘should be treated with extreme caution’. Read the full report here.

Luke Nicholls

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