Three step plan to a low carbon economy

The chief executive of the Climate Change Committee has outlined the three key policies that the new Government should focus on to help shift the UK to a low carbon economy.

Speaking at the launch of the business and environment lobby the Aldersgate Group’s latest report, David Kennedy said it was now pretty clear where we should be going if we wanted to make the transition to a sustainable economy.

What is needed now, he said, is the political will to put the necessary framework in place to get on with the job.

He advocated a three-prong attack as the best hope for a transition to a low carbon economy.

He said policy priorities should be putting in place a national programme for energy efficiency improvements in homes, a reform of the electricity markets to encourage the decarbonisation of the power sector and the roll out of a wide-reaching electric vehicle battery charging network.

“We’re very well placed to build a UK low carbon economy and show other countries that that can go hand in hand with growth and prosperity,” said Mr Kennedy.

“The opportunities are there [but] we still need step change.”

He called for a national programme for residential energy efficiency improvement that takes out the transaction costs from easy wins like home insulation, saying there would be massive economies of scale if this was done street by street.

Energy is a daunting task but a key area because of the knock on benefits, he argued.

“We haven’t got a set of arrangements to decarbonise the power sector,” he said.

“That’s absolutely essential given that power sector decarbonisation is the key to wider economy decarbonisation, that’s a fundamental policy shift.”

His third priority area was transport, with electric vehicles being the best horse to back.

“Electric cars and electric vans are the most promising options for taking transport emissions right down over the next ten or twenty years,” he said.

“[They] are coming to market and they are increasingly competitive – the challenge is to get a battery charging network in place and that is a job for Government.

“It’s all to play for – the costs of doing this are relatively small. We have made progress [but] there’s a lot more to do – what we need now is political will to drive through and implement the framework.”

Sam Bond

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