Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Caroline Flint, moved an Opposition debate in the House of Commons on 5th March on jobs and growth in a low-carbon economy. For further information click here.
The motion called on the Government to bring forward an active industrial strategy for low-carbon growth by providing a stable policy framework to unlock private investment, improving public procurement, developing a low-carbon skills strategy and encourage manufacturing. This followed a speech Caroline Flint gave at the Aldersgate Group, cited in the Commons debate, that outlined the details for such a strategy.
In addition, Vince Cable gave a speech on the 27th Feb on the next step's for an industrial strategy and what role the Government can, and should, play in relation to specific sectors, technologies, and public procurement. For further information, click here.
Following the news that Chris Huhne has resigned from Cabinet, the Guardian has reported that he won plaudits from many in the green movement who saw him fight for his department, DECC, against sceptics in the Treasury and secure vital funds for key projects despite dismal government finances.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "His biggest success has been winning the argument with cabinet colleagues on the fourth carbon budget [which strengthened the UK's carbon-cutting targets up to 2027] – demonstrating that ambitious carbon cuts through the 2020s can benefit both the environment and the economy. He has also managed to get major concessions from the Treasury regarding the green investment bank, ensuring that it will have £3bn in initial funding in spite of severe fiscal constraints."
For full article, click here.
AG Director, Chris Tuppen, has advised MPs that the UK should seek to develop the reporting and accountability of its consumption emissions to supplement the carbon budgets (which are measured on a production basis). Appearing as a witness to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, he said that this "would be complementary to how the Government encourage businesses and organisations to report their carbon emissions".
The AG has formally responded to DECC's Red Tape Challenge, emphasising the need to focus on regulatory outcomes to drive growth in the long term. The AG has argued that a streamlined approach can reduce business costs, for example by reforming climate change and energy efficiency legislation.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group has described the Chancellor's Autumn Statement as "a missed opportunity". He said:
"The Chancellor blames the rise of energy and commodity prices for damaging growth, but has not done enough to ensure the economy is more resilient to these threats. He is also wrong to claim that environmental regulation is a burden and cost on British business; it is a fundamental driver for growth of tomorrow's businesses and our future global competitiveness. Green policy should have been at the heart of the growth strategy, reducing our dependence on increasingly volatile global resource markets, stimulating investment and creating jobs."
The Autumn Statement revised projections for the UK's economy downwards in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)'s projections and acknowledged that it will not be possible to eradicate the UK's structural deficit by the end of this Parliament.
Mary Creagh, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, referenced the Aldersgate Group's (AG) study into the costs and benefits of carbon reporting in a Parliamentary debate on green growth yesterday. She said that "taking just one of the options, option 3, Aldersgate found that DEFRA had overestimated the total costs by up to £4.6 billion and underestimated the benefits by £980 million."
Click here to view the full transcript.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) welcomes a new BIS publication, "Skills for a Green Economy", which demonstrates the Government's recognition of the importance of training and skills in managing the transition to a resource efficient economy. Particularly, the report reflects a similar assessment of Britain's skills requirements with the AG's 2010 publication, Mind the Gap (see right).
John Edmonds, who leads the AG's workstream on skills, said: "The challenge for the Government is now to move from analysis to delivery. This will mean facing up to the central policy dilemma which is graphically described by BIS.
"At the moment Britain's skills policy is demand led. This requires British business to give clear messages to training providers. However "Skills for a Green Economy" recognises that many businesses are very uncertain about their future skill needs. To help resolve this problem, BIS argues sensibly for the provision of more readily available information to guide business decision makers but, given the size of the task and the need for early action, there is a case for the Government also considering a more interventionist approach."
The Aldersgate Group (AG) was referenced three times in the Environmental Audit Committee's (EAC) Carbon Budgets report: 1) The AG's recommendation that greater transparency of the UK's total carbon footprint would enable the carbon budgets to manage global climate change more effectively; 2) The AG's suggestion that to improve delivery of the carbon budgets, an independent body should monitor progress against the Carbon Plan and link the achievement of targets to annual performance reviews of senior civil servants; 3) The AG's view that when taking into account reasons for the geographical shift in manufacturing production, carbon leakage is only a genuine threat to a limited number of sectors.
To read the full report and AG's evidence, please see right.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group joined a panel alongside the South African Ambassador at Large, at the Business for Environment Global Summit to discuss "Transforming policy to scale up green growth."
He highlighted the importance of leveraging private investment to address political and institutional risks, so that the market can address the technical risks, which it understands. "It's the political and institutional risk which is scaring off investors."
View the whole debate here.
Two Aldersgate Group (AG) Directors have been appointed to advisory groups that will make recommendations on the Government's better regulation agenda. Peter Young, AG Chairman, has been appointed in a personal capacity to the Defra Strategic Regulatory Scrutiny Panel which has been tasked with challenging and advising Defra on the way it thinks about regulation. In addition, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director, will sit on the Sounding Board for the Red Tape Challenge Environment Theme that is also being convened by Defra and will scrutinise regulatory proposals. The AG seeks to ensure that regulatory reform is primarily concerned with the effective achievement of outcomes, while reducing administrative burdens and maximising innovation potential.
Peter Young said: "I welcome Defra’s initiative in bringing outside scrutiny and expertise to work closely with officials to achieve the objective of what the Aldersgate Group has coined 'best value regulation'. I think it reflects our constructive dialogue and capacity to add value to policy reform that Andrew and I have been selected for these appointments and I look forward to extending my personal relationships within Defra further through this important work.’
Commenting on the launch of "Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy", Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group and member of the Green Economy Council said: "I have no hesitation in welcoming this suite of reports; the breadth and clarity of government commitment is exactly the kind of coherent policy making we have long argued for. The opportunity for the Green Economy Council to build on the government commitments and the businesses challenges laid out are encouraging for the future competitiveness of the UK.
"However the limp launch and lack of explicit endorsement by Number 10 and 11 is a warning that whilst the report rightly sets out to transform our whole economy, until the whole Government is visibly supporting this aim, the risk remains that more visionary leaders will steal the green economy race from right under our noses."
To see Andrew Raingold (Executive Director)'s article on Guardian Sustainable Business, click here.
AG's new lead for best-value regulation, Terry A'Hearn, calls for smarter regulation that would cut costs, simplify compliance, and spark “genuine business sustainability innovation”. In an article in ENDS, Terry draws on his 20 years’ experience in the Australian state of Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPAV) to argue for the introduction of an "environmental driving license" and greater use of civil sanctions.
Reproduced with permission of The ENDS Report, the UK journal and website for environmental business and policy.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) has written to all UK-based MEPs to urge them not to undermine the Government’s commitment to increase the EU emissions reduction target to 30% by 2020. A crucial vote in the European Parliament is expected at lunchtime tomorrow.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “A 30% carbon reduction target would provide greater certainty for businesses to invest in tomorrow’s technologies, boosting innovation and creating jobs. This is vital if the EU is going to be at the forefront of a green industrial revolution and is not the enemy of competitiveness, as some have claimed. In fact, many of Britain’s biggest businesses are urging MEPs not to undermine the Prime Minister’s commitment to a 30% carbon reduction target.”
The AG supports the findings of a new progress report by the Committee on Climate Change which finds that an acceleration in the pace of emission reductions is required.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The Government should not hide behind carbon reductions that are a direct result of the recession. Much greater urgency is required if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate change targets and lead a green industrial revolution."
To read the CCC's 3rd progress report, click here.
In a letter authored by Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of the UK's largest businesses and environmental groups has welcomed the Government's commitment to a legally binding target to reduce carbon emissions. They state that strong and clear action on climate change is essential for long-term economic growth, jobs and competitive advantage.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group helped to launch Carbon Smart's latest report on sustainability assurance in 2010. To see the edited highlights of this event, click here.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, joined a debate on 19th Jan, organised by the Fabian Society, "The New Politics of Climate Change - where are we?" With the Coalition's pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever' tempered by increased budgetary limitations for both state and individual, the seminar sought to look at the priorities and obstacles for the Government in this agenda.
Responding to today's announcement on reform to the energy market, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "The introduction of a sufficiently stable, high and credible carbon price is essential to stimulate the required step change in investment for low carbon technologies. To maximise the potential growth and jobs benefits to the economy, the proceeds must be used to support low carbon energy projects."
Today the AG has supported an open letter to Caroline Spelman published in the Financial Times, initiated by two of its members, the Co-operative and WWF, calling for reporting of carbon emissions by companies to be made mandatory. The letter argues that this would reward the companies already taking a lead in the green economy and help all businesses to manage and reduce their GHG emissions.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) has responded to the DECC information request on 'Reducing Red Tape'.
The Group's letter to Lord Marland reiterates AG's commitment to reduce the regulatory burden for businesses but urges caution to ensure environmental policies are not undermined by the drive to reduce red tape. Regulation is one of the few means of encouraging the economic recovery onto a more sustainable path and a sensible course of action given the current fiscal climate.