UK has potential to be global leader in shift to low-carbon

The UK has the potential to be a global front-runner in the shift to low carbon but only if the Government adopts a smarter approach to energy and climate change policy, says the CBI.

According to research by the CBI, the UK has the ability to become a global leader in low-carbon products and services, which could add £20bn extra in annual GDP by 2015.

East of England director Richard Tunnicliffe said: “In reality, with the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth.

“With something like a third of all our growth accounted for by green business last year, the UK could be a global front-runner in the shift to low-carbon.”

However, the CBI’s call for smarter Government policy comes after the group was questioned by environmental industry organisations for lobbying against the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and calling for it to be scrapped.

A CBI report showed that the UK’s share of the £3.3tn global green market grew by 2.3% in real terms in 2010/11, reaching £122bn and accounting for around 8% of GDP. The CBI said that green business may have accounted for over a third of all UK growth in 2011/12.

Across every sector and region, green business activity now employs around 940,000 people in the UK, with two thirds of these jobs outside London and the South East.

The CBI added that green goods and services are also a strong contributor to UK trade, and the biggest links are to fast-growing economies such as China, which buys 7% of UK green exports. By the end of this Parliament the contribution from green business could cut the UK’s trade deficit by half.

Leigh Stringer

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