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Government must do more to deliver on its environmental objectives

25th November 2015

Further to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today and ahead of the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on the Fifth Carbon Budget tomorrow, the Aldersgate Group said that it was unlikely the Autumn Statement had done enough to allow the government to meet its environmental objectives effectively.

Recognising the difficult challenge faced by government in addressing the deficit, the Aldersgate Group welcomed the government’s decision to increase climate finance, maintain support for the purchase of low emission vehicles, commit to an increase in funding on low carbon heat and protect the budget of the FCO, a department which performs important functions in climate change diplomacy and in setting up trade opportunities for UK businesses.

However, it was unclear how the government’s proposal to increase funding for low carbon heat whilst saving £700m would help deliver the increase in low carbon heat required by the UK’s carbon budgets. The proposal to insulate one million homes during the course of this Parliament also amounts to a significant drop compared to the number of homes which took on energy efficiency measures during the course of the last Parliament.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Without rapid investment in energy efficiency and low carbon heat at scale, it is difficult to see how the UK will meet its Fourth Carbon Budget at least cost and on time. The government needs to do much more to improve the energy efficiency of our building stock and explain how its new proposals will deliver the increase in low carbon heat that the Committee on Climate Change has been calling for. It is also unclear how the government intends to allow further investment in cost-effective renewable electricity projects outside of the offshore wind auctions announced last week.”

The Aldersgate Group however welcomed the Government’s increased focus on apprenticeships and highlighted that a comprehensive strategy was needed to ensure the UK’s workforce was equipped to benefit from the employment opportunities that the transition to a low carbon economy had to offer. This will be the subject of a major Aldersgate Group event in Parliament next week.

Referring to the spending cuts of 15% at DEFRA at 22% at DECC in particular, Nick Molho said:

“Government departments such as DEFRA and its regulatory agencies provide important – and often overlooked – services that are key to the effective functioning of our economy. These include providing access to high quality natural resources such as water and interpreting UK and EU environmental legislation in a way that is pragmatic and can support business innovation. The implementation of the different settlement plans must ensure that these government departments and their regulatory agencies have sufficient resources to continue providing these services effectively.” 

Pointing to the fact that businesses were awaiting clear policy signals to increase investments in the UK’s natural capital, Nick Molho added:

“As the Aldersgate Group highlighted in its report last week, the government has the opportunity to drive greater levels of private investment in improving the state of the UK’s natural assets in a way that would support the competitiveness of the UK economy and wouldn’t jeopardise its objective of tackling the deficit. Doing this requires greater policy co-ordination between government departments to support projects that are mutually beneficial and helping support the financing of natural capital projects by making existing subsidy schemes more efficient and developing markets for ecosystem services.”

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UK energy policy is right on coal but more clarity rapidly needed on renewables and energy efficiency

18th November 2015

Reacting to today’s speech by the Secretary of State for Climate and Energy the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, the Aldersgate Group welcomed the government’s commitment to phase out the UK’s old coal-fired power stations but stressed that more clarity was rapidly needed on the government’s plan to support future investment in renewables and energy efficiency if the UK was to meet its objectives on carbon emissions, affordability and security of supply.

The Aldersgate Group welcomed the government’s decision to set a clear date for the closure of the UK’s old coal-fired power stations, as this will help modernise the UK’s energy infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The closure of the UK’s old coal power stations is a pre-requisite to modernising the UK’s energy system. It will help reduce carbon emissions and make clear that modern gas-fired power stations, not coal, are the best complement to increasing amounts of low carbon generation.”

The announcement that three CfD auction rounds for offshore wind will take place during this Parliament was also a positive step forward. However, the Group stressed that more clarity on the funding available to support these auctions and policies to facilitate investment in other forms of low carbon generation such as mature renewable energy technologies was rapidly needed. This was essential to support continued investment in these technologies and secure further cost reductions for consumers and supply chain benefits for the UK economy.

Nick Molho added: “Having provided over 25% of the UK’s electricity in the second quarter of 2015 and demonstrated significant cost reductions in recent years, renewables have an important and growing role to play as part of a secure, low carbon and affordable energy system but the current lack of specific policy has been undermining further investment. Building on today’s positive announcement on offshore wind, the government must rapidly set out its proposals in more detail as to how it will support continued investment and cost reductions in the renewables sector.”

The Aldersgate Group called on the government to clarify as soon as possible the funds that would be available for investment in low carbon power stations under the levy control framework and under what mechanism investors could still develop mature and cost competitive renewable energy technologies such as onshore wind and solar projects.

The Aldersgate Group also highlighted that clarity was needed as to how the government would support investment in a range of other infrastructure areas that were key to meeting the UK’s carbon targets on time and on budget. This included in particular future policies to guide investments in energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, low carbon heat and low emission vehicles.

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Business urgently needs clarity to support low carbon investment

22nd October 2015

Following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s report, Power Sector Scenarios for the fifth carbon budget, the Aldersgate Group urges the Government to rapidly extend or replace existing low carbon support policies, the vast majority of which are expiring during the course of this Parliament. 

The Aldersgate Group, whose corporate members span a wide range of economic sectors and have a global collective turnover in excess of £300bn, urged the Government today to provide greater policy clarity to support continued investment in the UK’s future low carbon power and energy efficient infrastructure, accelerate cost reductions and deliver supply chain benefits.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “UK low carbon policy has helped deliver many successes in recent years from the falling cost of onshore wind, solar PV and offshore wind to supporting the rapid growth of the UK’s low carbon economy which delivered a turnover of £122bn in 2013 and employs 460,000 people. But the low carbon sector is now at a crossroads, with urgent clarity needed in particular on the funds available to support investment in low carbon power stations in the 2020s and on the support mechanisms that will help improve the efficiency of the UK’s building stock.” 

The Aldersgate Group added that the need for long-term policy signals extended beyond the power sector and affected other key infrastructure areas such as low carbon heat and low emission vehicles, where support policies are all due to expire within the term of this Parliament.

Nick Molho added: “In setting out future policies to support investment in low carbon infrastructure, cut its cost and deliver supply chain benefits, the government should also provide continued support to those energy intensive industries at risk of competitiveness impacts to ensure they can play a role in the UK’s future low carbon supply chain.”  

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UK must deliver on its carbon budgets amidst growing global action on climate change

13th October 2015

Following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s report today on the scientific and international context for the fifth carbon budget, the Aldersgate Group urged the UK government to continue its effort to cut carbon emissions and grow its low carbon economy amidst increasing international action on climate change.

Following an increase in ambition in the climate change policies of key emitting countries such as the US and China, the Aldersgate Group highlighted that international action to tackle climate change was strengthening despite the fact that current pledges to cut emissions were still insufficient to prevent dangerous levels of climate change.  

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The upcoming Paris climate change summit won’t result in an agreement that can immediately lock-in commitments that will prevent dangerous levels of climate change. But the summit will be a success if it commits countries to initial emission cut pledges and provides for a mechanism to increase these pledges in the coming years.”

Nick Molho added: “To support this strengthening international action on climate change, the UK must continue its own efforts to cut carbon emissions at home. Concretely, this requires rapidly replacing a range of policies such as the levy control framework that will expire during the term of this Parliament and which are critical to increasing innovation and attracting investments in energy efficiency and low carbon power, heat and transport infrastructure.”   

The Aldersgate Group also pointed out that in designing the UK’s future climate change and energy policies, the government should not lose sight of the economic opportunities presented by a transition to a low carbon economy.

Nick Molho said: “The international market for low carbon goods and services is already worth $5.5tn. We must look at climate change and energy policies not only as a tool to tackle climate change but also as a way of supporting UK businesses playing an increasing role in this growing international market.”

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Aldersgate Group: Low carbon economy key to UK growth, government must do more to back it

8th July 2015

Following the Emergency Budget presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today, the Aldersgate Group stated that the continued growth of the low carbon economy was vital to the UK’s long-term economic prospects and that the government should do more to back it. 

Today’s Emergency Budget, which contained very few proposals to support the growth of the UK’s low carbon sector, came a day after the Aldersgate Group published its latest report A Brighter, More Secure Future. In this report, businesses from a wide range of economic sectors called on the government to provide enough policy clarity to support continued investment in the UK’s low carbon infrastructure and help investors to continue cutting the cost of new technologies.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The government’s understandable focus on tackling the annual budget deficit and the national debt shouldn’t come at the expense of failing to support those sectors of the economy that are key to the UK’s long-term growth and competitiveness prospects. With the global low carbon goods and services sector already worth US$5.5 trillion and international momentum building to accelerate cuts in carbon emissions, the UK economy can’t afford to drop out of the low carbon race." 

With the UK’s low carbon economy already reaching a turnover of £122bn in 2013, the Aldersgate Group added that rapidly providing sufficient funding under the levy control framework to invest in low carbon infrastructure after 2020 and extending energy efficiency policies would help accelerate the cost reductions of new technologies such as renewables and continue the low carbon sector’s positive contribution to the UK economy.

Nick Molho added: “Yesterday, business leaders from all across the economy showed that they were willing to make significant investments in the UK’s efficiency and low carbon infrastructure, reduce the cost of new technologies and deliver economic growth. If it wants to unlock this much needed investment, the government must use the upcoming spending review to show its commitment to rapidly growing the UK’s energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure.” 

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Leaders from business, academia and civil society spell out business case for rapid low carbon transition

7th July 2015

In a new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, leaders from multiple sectors of the economy, academia and civil society set out the key policy priorities in this parliament that will allow the UK to meet its carbon targets on time, on budget and in way that will be beneficial to the UK economy.

The report, A Brighter, More Secure Future: Low carbon priorities for the new government gathers contributions from leaders drawn from sectors as varied as the telecoms, manufacturing, finance, retail, construction, cement, energy and engineering consultancy industries as well as prominent academics, consumer groups and NGOs.

In it, the Aldersgate Group urges policy makers to provide clarity as soon as possible on the funding and level of ambition for low carbon technologies beyond 2020, prioritise the improved energy efficiency of the UK’s infrastructure, continue the positive work done to date in international climate negotiations and provide the necessary support to vulnerable parts of society and the economy in doing so.

The report, which will be debated at a high profile event tomorrow (8th July 2015) in Guildhall jointly hosted by the City of London Corporation and the Aldersgate Group, argues that the environmental and low carbon goods sector is already playing a key role in the UK’s continued economic recovery, with an annual turnover in excess of £122bn in 2013. But the sector is now at a crossroads and needs clear policies for the decade ahead to ensure its continued growth.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Last week’s report from the Committee on Climate Change showed that decarbonising the UK’s economy could be done affordably. This report goes further and shows that tackling climate change can provide significant economic opportunities for the UK and make our economy far more competitive and resilient to shocks in the future.”

Contributors set out key policy recommendations that would ensure the UK’s transition to an efficient and low carbon economy stays on track and is delivered in a way that is as economically beneficial as possible to the UK.

The report highlights that there are major economic growth opportunities ahead in low carbon energy, transport, information and communications technology, smart grids and energy efficiency, but emphasises that businesses need unambiguous assurance that if they invest in decarbonising the economy, they must be able to count on sufficiently stable and long-term policies and won’t be at risk of retrospective policy changes.

Nick Molho added: “The recommendations that business, academic and civil society leaders have set out in this report will help the UK meet its emission targets on time, on budget and in a way that’s economically beneficial. We urge the government to take note of them and put forward stable policies for the decade ahead.”

Joan Walley, Chair of the Aldersgate Group said: “One crucial area for government engagement will be to continue driving ambition to achieve binding commitments at the climate change negotiations in Paris at the end of this year. But as many businesses in our report make clear, the UK’s positive stance in international negotiations must be backed up by credible and stable policies at home to rapidly grow an efficient and low carbon economy. The government now needs to set out its plans for the low carbon economy in the very near future.”


Aldersgate Group: Early action imperative for the UK to gain maximum benefits from low carbon transition

30th June 2015

Following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s Progress Report to Parliament, the Aldersgate Group urges the government to rapidly put in place robust policies that will allow the UK to meet its existing carbon budgets on time, affordably and in a way that could deliver significant economic benefits for the UK.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The government faces several critical decisions during the early months of this Parliament to ensure that the deployment of energy efficiency and a wide range of low carbon infrastructure remains on track and the cost of new technologies continues to be cut. Policy and funding gaps, particularly after 2020, must be filled urgently.

"In the run up to the important climate change summit in Paris later this year, it is vital that the UK’s very positive role to date in these negotiations is seen to be backed up by continued tangible commitments to decarbonise its economy at home. This is all the more the case, given the recent announcements on onshore wind and the future of the Green Investment Bank.”

The Aldersgate Group, which will be publishing a major report next week on the government’s climate and energy policy priorities, argues that an early decision on the extension of the Levy Control Framework and a reboot of energy efficiency policy, with clear objectives and proposals tailored to different types of energy efficiency measures, will allow businesses to continue investing and innovating in the UK, delivering important infrastructure, cost reductions and economic growth.

Uncertainty about future funding could see projects being delayed and have a particularly damaging impact on supply chains and continued cost reductions.

Nick Molho said: “The offshore wind sector provides a good example of the benefits produced by a clear policy framework. The cost of energy from UK offshore wind farms has fallen by almost 11 per cent in the past four years, with the UK the world leader in this sector. However,offshore projects can take up to ten years to build, so the industry is already looking to the mid-2020s for some clarity about expected levels of deployment.”

Nick Molho added: “The report’s dual focus on tackling and addressing the potential impacts of climate change in the UK is welcome and highlights the importance of the government setting out a coherent vision on climate change, which must include improving the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure to its impacts. This will require good co-ordination between the government’s adaptation strategy and its objective to rapidly improve the state of the UK’s natural capital such as the ecological condition of farmed countryside.”

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Aldersgate Group urges government to build on promising growth of UK’s low carbon economy

26th May 2015

Tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech is an ideal opportunity for the new government to affirm the increasing importance of the low carbon economy in the UK and make a clear commitment to support its continued growth. 

With the UK’s low carbon economy having seen its turnover grow by almost 25% from 2010 to 2013 and reaching £122bn in 2013, the Aldersgate Group urges the government to recognise the importance of the sector and make a clear commitment in the Queen’s Speech to support its future development. 

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “From low emissions vehicles and waste processing to energy efficiency and low carbon electricity, the UK’s low carbon sector has grown rapidly in recent years but its future growth requires clear signals from the government that it is committed to continuing the UK’s transition towards a resource efficient and low carbon economy.”

Nick Molho added: “Important decisions will need to be made in the coming year on the future of the UK’s energy efficiency policies, the finance available in the levy control framework to support the continued deployment of clean energy technologies and how the UK intends to put the Natural Capital Committee’s recommendations into practice. A clear signal in the Queen’s Speech highlighting the government’s intention to make rapid and supportive decisions in these areas would be positively received by developers and the supply chain alike and have positive knock-on effects on the economy.” 

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Aldersgate Group welcomes Amber Rudd's appointment as DECC Secretary of State

11th May 2015

The Aldersgate Group welcomed today the appointment of Amber Rudd MP as the new Secretary of State for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

Building on her impressive business background, Ms Rudd was previously an effective minister at DECC for the final year of the Coalition Government where she championed the role of innovation in building the UK's low carbon economy. 

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "Amber Rudd's appointment at DECC is an excellent choice. She is in an ideal position to keep on growing the UK's low carbon sector, one of the fastest growing areas of our economy with a turnover that is already twice that of the UK's auto-manufacturing industry". 

The Aldersgate Group, whose business members represent a wide range of economic sectors and a collective turnover in excess of £300bn, has urged the new government to recognise the importance of the UK’s environmental and low carbon goods sector as part of the UK’s continued economic recovery.

Nick Molho adds: "We look forward to working with Ms Rudd to ensure the UK secures the benefits of growth, employment, exports and environmental protection the low-carbon sector has to offer."

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Aldersgate Group welcomes new government and urges it to build on promising growth of low carbon economy

8th May 2015

Following the majority won by the Conservative Party at the General Election, the Aldersgate Group urged the new government to build on the work done in the last five years and support the continued growth of the UK’s thriving environmental and low carbon economy. 

The Aldersgate Group, whose business members represent a wide range of economic sectors and a collective turnover in excess of £300bn, urged the new government to recognise the importance of the UK’s environmental and low carbon goods sector as part of the UK’s continued economic recovery. Ambitious, stable policies to tackle climate change and protect the natural environment will make the UK economy more competitive and resilient, whilst delivering important environmental and social benefits. 

During the period of the last government, the UK’s low carbon sector grew to employ nearly half a million people with its turnover increasing by nearly 25% between 2010 and 2013, reaching £122bn in 2013. With the sector’s annual gross valued added already equivalent to that of the foods and drinks industry, it is clear that investing in the low carbon economy should form an important part of the new government’s economic plan. 

The Aldersgate Group also pointed out that with nearly 2% of Scotland’s jobs already in the low carbon economy, the continued growth of the sector should remain an important priority for the SNP.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The low carbon sector has continued to thrive in the last five years and we look forward to working with the Conservative government to build upon it. We welcome in particular the Conservative Party’s commitments in its manifesto to improve the state of the UK’s natural environment, support the UK’s Climate Change Act and to continue reducing the UK’s emissions cost-effectively. Achieving these objectives will require ambitious and stable policies and a pragmatic approach to the role that energy efficiency and low carbon technologies, including onshore wind, can play in the future.”

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Environmental policy has its place at the heart of UK’s economic plan

18th March 2015

Reacting to today’s announcement on the 2015 Budget by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Aldersgate Group urged all political parties to put environmental policy at the heart of their economic proposals ahead of the next General Election. 

The Aldersgate Group highlighted in particular that there is increased evidence that policies to promote resource efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and improve the state of the UK’s natural capital could all deliver net economic benefits to the UK as well as make the UK economy better able to cope with future supply risks, whether these be linked to the availability of fossil fuels, key materials or local environmental resources such as water.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “At a time where there is mounting evidence that ambitious policies to reduce carbon emissions, improve resource efficiency and protect our natural capital could deliver net economic gains to the UK and make our economy more robust to future resource shocks, it is in our national interest to put the environment at the heart of our country’s economic plan.”

Highlighting that today’s budget didn’t do much to recognise the important economic potential of environmental policies beyond the welcome support for a new tidal power scheme, Nick Molho added: “The upcoming election is a unique opportunity for all parties to integrate environmental policy as a key part of their economic proposals and show that they want the next Parliament to build an economy that will be competitive, secure and sustainable in the long-term.”  

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Six thought leaders demand action for an economy that works

13th March 2015

In a new report out today, jointly published by the Aldersgate Group and An Economy That Works Alliance, independent experts set out policy proposals to get the UK a step closer to a better functioning economy. Each is ripe for implementation by the next Government. 

This new report on “An Economy That Works” initiative, the last one to be wholly sponsored by the Aldersgate Group, hosts contributions from leading experts on one facet of the six core areas of An Economy That Works: high employment, equality of opportunity, wellbeing, low carbon development, zero waste and enhancing the UK’s natural capital. 

Contributions include:

  • A proposal by Susanne Barker of the manufacturers’ association EEF to set a goal to match the OECD average on government R&D spend to boost employment in the UK;
  • A proposal by Duncan Exley of the Equality Trust to put equality of opportunity at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategies to boost the economy’s competitiveness;
  • A proposal by Christine Berry of the New Economics Foundation to put wellbeing at the heart of business models and the UK’s economic policymaking;
  • A proposal by Ben Caldecott of Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment for the UK Government to introduce a scheme to retire the UK’s remaining sub-critical coal power stations by the end of 2020 to tackle carbon emissions in the UK’s power sector;
  • A proposal by Prof Paul Ekins OBE of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources to introduce an environmental tax reform to boost the resource efficiency of the UK’s economy;
  • A proposal by Toby Roxburgh and Karen Ellis at WWF-UK to introduce a new programme to “stress test” the risks to the UK economy caused by the depletion of the UK’s natural resources, similar to the stress testing approach used in the UK’s banking system.
  • A proposal by Oliver Dudok van Heel of the Economy That Works Alliance to define clear headline indicators that will enable us to measure the UK’s progress towards an economy that works.

Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “This new report brings exciting new policy ideas from authoritative experts to deliver key benefits for our future economy, environment and society. If the UK economy is to prosper in the long run, the next Government needs to adopt synergistic policies like these to strengthen environmental and social drivers at the heart of a sound economic plan.”

Peter Young added: “Having created and developed An Economy That Works over the last 18 months, it is now time for An Economy That Works alliance to develop the next stage independent from the Aldersgate Group. This is important if it is to achieve the breadth and integration of interests which it was designed to reach. This report should give a taste of what policies might be successfully advocated, and we trust that An Economy That Works will now develop its initiative to bring coherence and new thinking beyond the environmental focus that the Aldersgate Group can provide.” 

Oliver Dudok van Heel, Executive Director of An Economy That Works Alliance, said: “This report sets the tone for the next stage of the development of the Economy That Works Alliance, by turning our vision into concrete policy proposals that will enable the transition to an economy that delivers prosperity, competitiveness and sustainability to the UK: an economy that works. 

“In keeping with the collaborative nature of the initiative, each proposal was developed by a different expert in the field, building on their own work and the expertise of their organisation, in full alignment with the overarching aims of An Economy That Works.”

Find the full report here.

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Aldersgate Group: “EU must continue building positive momentum ahead of Paris”

25th February 2015

The Aldersgate Group welcomed the vision set out in the EU Commission’s Road to Paris today but urged the EU Council to ensure that its final proposals on emission cuts for 2030 were in line with the “at least 40% domestic target” previously announced. This was key to build an increasingly positive momentum ahead of the Paris climate summit and to help grow the EU’s market share in the low-carbon sector.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It is often forgotten that Europe’s economic growth, competitive advantage and the health of its job market will be enhanced or undermined according to our response to climate change. Action on climate change isn’t just about preventing significant environmental and economic damage; it’s also about benefiting from the huge commercial opportunities that come with the shift to a low-carbon economy.”

Mr Molho added: “It is critical that the final emission cuts put forward by the EU Council in the coming weeks are in line with its previous decision to cut emissions domestically by at least 40% by 2030. The EU should also make clear at the outset that it is ready, if appropriate, to increase its emission targets in the event of a successful agreement being reached in Paris.” 

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Plenty more work to do after Lima but strong climate deal in Paris still possible

14th December 2014

Reacting to the outcome of the climate change talks in Lima, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: 

"After a 33 hour overtime marathon to conclude negotiations, the Lima climate change talks haven't delivered as clear cut an outcome as many wished for and significant work remains to be done in 2015 if the world is to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. But they have at least kept hopes for a strong climate change deal in Paris alive and the Peruvian delegation should be given much credit for that.  

"As we enter the important year that is 2015, businesses have a key role to play in speaking louder and in bigger numbers in favour of a strong climate deal to add their full weight to the essential efforts of civil society and the world's progressive governments. The economic, social and environmental imperative of preventing the worst impacts of climate change warrants such an unprecedented global coalition."

See our coverage in businessGreen.

 

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Aldersgate Group reactive to latest report by Committee on Climate Change

10th December 2014

Reacting to the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change, Energy prices and bills - impacts of meeting carbon budgets, the Aldersgate Group urged political leaders champion the shift towards a low carbon economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "This report from the Committee on Climate Change clearly shows that we can meet our carbon targets affordably, a conclusion that many other reports have also reached. To do so, the next Government must pursue energy efficiency policies to a much greater extent than has been done to date and show its support for the clean energy sector well beyond the end of this decade if businesses are to invest in our low carbon power stations at a reasonable cost."

"With the General Election fast approaching, our political leaders should remember that meeting our carbon targets isn't just about tackling climate change, it's also about equipping our nation with modern homes and building an efficient and low carbon energy system fit for the 21st century. Moving to a low carbon economy could unlock important employment and economic growth opportunities if the next Government shows a long-term commitment to this much needed transition and could significantly improve the UK's energy security by cutting its dependence on fossil fuels."

See our coverage in the Guardian.

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£280bn business coalition backs "better growth" roadmap to get UK economy working harder for environment and society

9th December 2014

A coalition of some of the UK's biggest businesses with a collective turnover in excess of £280bn today backed a new macro-economic roadmap for Britain by launching a new campaign called "An Economy That Works" based on the findings of a major report.

Campaign founders the Aldersgate Group and its progressive alliance of NGOs and UK businesses argue in their first report that the UK economy risks becoming detached from the long-term needs of society. It says that GDP growth is an important tool in creating prosperous societies, but warns that on its own growth is unable to define a path to lasting prosperity and competitiveness. It says an economy that works for the UK is one that will be low carbon, will deliver high employment and equality of opportunity, and place wellbeing and regard for natural resources at its core. 

Launching the new campaign, Sir Richard Lambert, former Financial Times editor and former Director-General of the CBI said: "Single-issue policymaking is struggling to address the complex social and environmental challenges of our time.  The Economy that Works coalition has a relentlessly positive vision and its systemic blueprint for creating decent jobs, delivering equal opportunity, and enhancing wellbeing across the UK is exciting and galvanising."

Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group said: "Despite encouraging UK growth figures, we risk getting stuck with reduced wellbeing, rising inequality, continued loss of natural capital and rising resource pressures. Policymakers urgently need to look beyond GDP to define successful growth – setting far more coherent policy goals which strengthen the links between our economy, our society and the environment.”

Learn more about the campaign at AnEconomyThatWorks.org

See our coverage in businessGreen.

See Sir Ian Cheshire's op-ed on our campaign in the Independent.

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Political ambition critical to building a thriving and future ready economy in the UK

2nd December 2014

In its latest report, the Aldersgate Group calls for visionary leadership from the next Parliament to tackle a range of environmental challenges and help build a growing, sustainable and resilient UK economy.

The General Election of May 2015 will deliver the Parliament that will take us to 2020, the target date for many of the UK’s environmental commitments and widely calculated to be the last period in which we can implement sufficient decarbonisation programmes to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. The Autumn Statement due out tomorrow (3rd December) marks the starter’s whistle for the Election campaign.

Now is the time for ambitious leadership from all parties to win back voters with a positive and long-term vision for the UK. Many threats to the UK economy are characteristically long-term, which makes this period, six months before a General Election, politically unique in allowing parties to consider issues beyond the confines of the parliamentary cycle.

The Aldersgate Group Manifesto identifies six target areas for the next parliament to help the UK effectively address today’s big environmental challenges, whilst maximising economic benefits for the UK. The next government must (1) accelerate the move to a competitive low carbon economy, (2) prioritise energy and resource efficiency, (3) improve our understanding and the state of our natural capital, (4) equip the UK’s workforce with the right skills to benefit from the opportunities offered by the transition to a sustainable economy, (5) increase financial flows towards low carbon and other environmental projects and (6) ensure the UK continues to benefit from progressive European environmental standards whatever the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “As a business-led coalition with members drawn from a wide range of economic sectors, the Aldersgate Group is well placed to advocate policies that will benefit the UK as a whole.

“The outcome of the General Election in May is unpredictable, yet we know that voters are yearning for a positive vision to tackle the challenges we face as a country today. This report sets out how politicians, recognising the climate and resource challenges that we face, can go about creating an efficient, resilient and low carbon economy and deliver significant economic and social benefits for the UK.”

See our coverage in businessGreen here.


Lima must lay the framework for a global climate deal in 2015

27th November 2014

From 1st to 12th December, the 20th Conference of Parties (COP) will be held in Lima to agree the framework of a global climate deal. The Aldersgate Group welcomes the momentum that has built in the run-up to Lima - with the UN Climate Summit, US-China climate accord and the Green Climate Fund’s mobilisation of $9.3bn - but urges negotiators to lay the groundwork for an ambitious deal to be signed in Paris in 2015 (COP 21).

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “2015 is a pivotal year for climate action. Paris will be a watershed for international climate negotiations which, as the IPCC’s Synthesis Report showed earlier this month, must drive action at the pace and scale required by climate science. Lima must establish a framework for individual countries’ domestic climate action plans post-2020 and outline how they will submit their pledges.”

See our coverage on edie.net.

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IPCC report makes scientific and economic case for tackling climate change crystal clear

2nd November 2014

Reacting to the publication today of the Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Aldersgate Group urged world leaders and the UK government to deliver an international deal at the pace and scale called for by climate science.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The world’s scientific community has given us both a clear warning and a message of hope. It has made it crystal clear that man-made climate change is a reality but has also shown that prompt, cost-effective and coordinated action by the world’s governments can help limit the detrimental impacts that unabated climate change would have on the natural environment and the world economy. It is now time for governments to deliver a deal at the pace and scale required by climate science.”

Referring to recent research from the New Climate Economy Foundation and Cambridge Econometrics, Nick Molho added: “Beyond the benefits of avoiding the economic damage that would be caused by unabated climate change, Governments should also remember that moving to an efficient and low-carbon economy is an opportunity in itself. Recent research shows for instance that meeting the UK’s existing carbon targets under its Climate Change Act would result in higher GDP, higher household income and higher levels of employment by 2030 compared to a situation where the UK does little to reduce its emissions.”

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EU leaders agree 2030 climate and energy package

24th October 2014

Reacting to the European Council announcement, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group said: “European leaders have made the right decision to commit to a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, which keeps open the option to increase the EU’s commitment to a higher and more adequate target in the event of successful climate negotiations in Paris next year.  Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, recent research shows that a strong greenhouse gas target is in the interest of the UK economy and we therefore urge the UK Government to push for an ambitious international deal on climate change in 2015.”

Nick Molho added: "It is on the other hand disappointing that the package contains insufficient ambition on energy efficiency, one of the cheapest ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, protecting consumers against rising energy bills and improving energy security. We urge the next Government to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority in the UK to ensure its environmental, economic and energy security benefits can be maximised."  

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