Ahead of the House of Commons debate on industrial strategy tomorrow, the Aldersgate Group has prepared a briefing on why the industrial strategy should have a strong low carbon element.
Our briefing argues that the industrial strategy must build on the UK's existing areas of competitive strength, such as ultra-low emission vehicles, smart ICT solutions, energy efficiency, offshore wind and project financing of clean energy projects. It must also complement the government's forthcoming emissions reduction plan, include a skills strategy and reflect the shift to a more resource efficient or "circular economy".
The UK and world economy have embarked on a low carbon transition. The UK's competitiveness will be increasingly tied to the development of a strong low carbon goods and services sector to ensure we can take advantage of the opportunities in the international low carbon market, which is estimated to be worth $5.5tn. Taking a low carbon focus can help future-proof the economy and maximise potential for UK plc.
Reacting to the publication of three reports from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today, the Aldersgate Group stated that putting in place an ambitious low carbon policy framework is not only needed to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets but also to strengthen the future competitiveness of its economy.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “With the unprecedented speed by which the Paris Agreement will be coming into force on 4 November and a record $285bn invested in renewable energy globally in 2015, it is clear that tackling climate change and growing the low carbon economy has leapt up the international agenda. Much of the growth in low carbon investments is coming from countries outside the EU, with China, India, Brazil, South Africa and the US among the top ten global investors. At a time when Theresa May is focused on forging “a bold, new, confident role” for the UK on the world stage, government should take note of this global shift and prioritise the continued growth of its successful low carbon economy.”
Nick Molho added: “With the help of business and civil society, the government should now develop a detailed emissions reduction plan that will attract affordable private sector investment in energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure to meet the UK’s carbon budgets at least cost and in line with the recommendations of the CCC in its latest reports. In doing so, government should put forward a clear plan to demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of new technologies in complex areas such as decarbonising heat. The upcoming industrial strategy is also an ideal opportunity to complement the emissions reduction plan and consider how targeted government initiatives can maximise growth and employment opportunities in the UK’s low carbon supply chain.”
 Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments 2016: http://bit.ly/1RAJA8w
 Recent ONS figures have highlighted that 96,500 businesses in the UK operated in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in 2014, generating £46.2bn of turnover and employing 238,500 people directly. ONS’ statistics are available at: http://bit.ly/1XyY6ol
Today the number of countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement has passed the 55% threshold of total global greenhouse gas emissions prompting the Paris Agreement to come into force in 30 days.
Reacting to the news, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The unprecedented speed by which the Paris Agreement will have entered into force is a significant achievement for international climate diplomacy. It confirms global political support for the transition to a low carbon economy, something which the world economy has already embarked on with a record $285bn invested in renewable energy last year. As the international low carbon economy continues to grow, the most competitive countries will be those that lead the development and export of energy efficient and low carbon goods and services.
Nick Molho added: “Global leaders must now use the COP22 summit in Morocco to start thrashing out the details of some of the major commitments made in Paris last year. In the UK, the government should respond to the economic opportunity provided by the entry into force of the Paris Agreement by developing an emissions reduction plan that will increase affordable private investment in energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure as well as use the industrial strategy to maximise growth and employment opportunities in the low carbon supply chain.