Britain all set to go green

It is now just over a year since the incoming UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that his would be the ‘greenest Government ever’.

Through action at home and internationally, including with the government of the United Arab Emirates, the UK intends to spearhead global efforts to tackle climate change and encourage low carbon growth. The UK’s coalition government recognises both ethical and economic imperatives to addressing climate change, and urges like-minded governments to do the same. If we are to avoid leaving a legacy of debt and damage to future generations we must act now. In the last fortnight, for example, the UK government has made two major announcements on climate change policy.

First, Department of Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Chris Huhne announced ambitious, legally binding, targets to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Second, the government published plans for a Green Investment Bank, the world’s first national green development bank.

In the fourth “carbon budget”, published a few weeks ago, the government accepted the recommendation of the UK’s Climate Change Committee to cut carbon emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2025. No other country in the world has set legally-binding carbon targets in this much detail, this far ahead. By being so clear, and so committed, governments can help to stimulate the investment the low carbon sector badly needs. Investors and potential investors in low carbon economic activity, like renewable electricity, electric cars, or home insulation, will have the certainty they need to make long-term investments. These private long-term investments will be in the growth sectors of the future, and as such, will ensure the UK’s industrial position in decades to come.

The government has committed to bringing forward legislation to create an operationally independent, enduring, Green Investment Bank. It has also guaranteed £3 billion initial capitalisation for the bank, which will start to make investments from April 2012. This initial capitalisation should enable the bank to catalyse an additional £15 billion of investment in green infrastructure by 2014/15. By providing the finance for low carbon infrastructure, the bank will help to lay the foundations for the UK’s long-term growth. Possible early priorities for the bank are offshore wind, waste, and non-domestic energy efficiency. We hope that in future years the bank will grow to become both a borrowing and an investing institution.  These announcements build on the UK’s progress over the last year. Since coming to power the government has committed to funding four commercial-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, is reforming the electricity market to encourage greater investment into low-carbon electricity plants, has launched the world’s first incentive scheme for renewable heat, and has published details of the Green Deal  —  a scheme enabling householders, businesses and landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and buildings at no up-front cost.

By taking action to reduce our emissions and green our economy at home, the government is securing the UK’s long-term future, for the sake of the generations to follow. We hope that other countries, such as the UAE, will follow suit. UK ministers, such as Lord Howell and Lord Marland of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Energy and Climate Change are travelling to the Gulf region specifically to convey this 
message personally.

Through leading by example, the UK can, and will, make stronger demands of the international community. So the UK will, for example, continue to argue for a EU target of a 30 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020. The UK will remain at the forefront of the international debate, helping to build momentum toward a legally binding global climate change deal. We are confident that the United Arab Emirates’ dedication to renewable energy (as demonstrated through the Shams and Nour solar power projects as well as the hosting of the International Renewable Energy Agency) and nascent national climate change policies will ensure that they take a similarly ambitious stance, and we look forward to working together closely in the run up to this year’s crucial climate change summit in Durban, South Africa.

Doug Cook is First Secretary Energy and Climate Change, British Embassy Abu Dhabi


Autor: Doug Cook

Fecha: 31/05/11

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