UK among nations calling for low-carbon industrial transition to spur job growth

Industry accounts for around 30% of global carbon emissions

The UK’s minister for business energy and clean growth Kwasi Kwarteng has signed a joint ministerial statement that has been released today (7 July) alongside delegates from Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The statement, issued as part of the Leadership Group for Industry Transition, is calling for industries to transition to net-zero emissions in order to tackle the climate crisis. In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the nations are also calling for heavy industries to deliver decent job growth.

“The UK is a proud member of the LeadIT initiative. In the run-up to COP26, we look forward to working closely with all member countries to build back better, pursue a green recovery and accelerate the decarbonisation of industry,” Kwarteng said.

Industry accounts for around 30% of global carbon emissions, and the LeadIT initiative is calling on nations to deliver ambitious policies focused on climate action, technology and finance.

The ministers are calling on public procurement and standards to spur market reforms for products that are both low-carbon and closed-loop. Ministers are also calling on the UN to strengthen efforts to facilitate technology and knowledge sharing to help accelerate industry transformation.

Finance has emerged as a key theme due to the economic damage caused by the virus. The signatories are calling on the private finance sector and multilateral development banks to develop risk-sharing business models to improve the resiliency of the economy. Ministers are also calling for the ongoing commitment to ensure developing countries have access to finance for climate mitigation to be honoured.

Developed nations are failing to deliver on that front. In 2017, industrialised nations contributed around $70bn to developing nations to combat climate change – far below the annual $100bn pledged in 2009.

UK plans

The joint statement comes as the UK outlines a new £3bn plan intended to create thousands of “green-collar” jobs, improve energy efficiency and conserve natural resources.

The largest single project within the portfolio will be a £1bn commitment to decarbonising public sector buildings, like schools and hospitals, as well as social housing, through retrofitting. A further £50m will be used to trial early-stage technologies, such as heat pumps, in the social rented homes considered England’s least energy-efficient. Families could see their annual energy bills fall by an average of £200 with this support, the Treasury claims.

The £3bn pot is in addition to Boris Johnson’s initial £5bn plan, unveiled last week at a briefing in the Midlands.

Matt Mace

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