Call for UK government to commit to low-carbon policies in industrial strategy

The UK’s industrial strategy must be low carbon and resource efficient, according to several leading business voices that have contributed to a collection of essays on the topic for the Green Alliance. 

In a new collection of essays, published by UK-based independent environmental think tank Green Alliance , seven business and policy voices, including the director general of the CBI and the deputy general secretary of the TUC, say the Government must embed low carbon development and resource efficiency in a truly modern industrial strategy; and that failure to do so risks wasting the opportunities the UK has to capitalise on the green economy.

The strong message from the publication’s contributors is that the government’s plan to boost business productivity, particularly in former industrial communities, must be aligned with UK low carbon energy and resource policies.

There is concern that the government’s initial plans for its industrial strategy, set out in a recent green paper, do not fully recognise the way technology and growing low carbon markets, at home and abroad, are changing. The government’s consultation on its green paper ends on 17 April, 2017.

‘Dangerous turning point’

In his essay, former Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Sir Vince Cable, said: “We are at a dangerous turning point at which the achievements of the past decade or so in building a green dimension into policy and, in particular, a strong commitment to decarbonisation, could be undermined and even reversed.

“Much has been achieved. The Climate Change Act embeds ambitious targets in British law. Lord Stern’s 2006 report provides perhaps the best analysis anywhere of the economics of climate change.

“Britain has provided international leadership on global environmental issues going back to Mrs Thatcher’s sponsorship of the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer and, more recently, to the coalition’s role in the Paris climate change negotiations. European legislation has given the UK strong environmental protection laws in respect of air and water quality and species protection.”

Elsewhere, TUC deputy general secretary, Paul Nowak, said it was essential that Brexit did not “derail progress on carbon reduction or weaken the UK’s environmental and climate change policy”.

He added: “Of course, we need to be mindful of the UK’s economic and industrial needs – we need a level playing field for Britain’s energy intensive sectors, for example – but Brexit cannot, and must not, become a climate change denier’s charter”.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight. 

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