Prime minister, David Cameron, has told an audience of business leaders that the UK has to accelerate its investment in a wide range of clean technologies, to remain competitive.
He was speaking earlier this month at the official launch of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)’s new Energy Efficiency Mission, which is designed to promote the Government’s energy efficiency policies.
He said only the world’s greenest economies will be able to compete in the global economic race over the coming years, so the UK has no choice in the matter.
"Make no mistake, we are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race, the economies in Europe that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.
He added: "Energy consumption is set to grow by a third over the next two decades alone. And in a race for limited resources it is the energy efficient that will win that race.
"It is the businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks that will be the most successful... And yes, it is the countries that prioritise green energy that will secure the biggest share of jobs and growth in a global low-carbon sector set to be worth $4 trillion [£2.57 trillion] by 2015."
Stressing the economic case for action, he went on to urge: "So to those who say we just can't afford to prioritise green energy right now, my view is we can't afford not to.
"Far from being a drag on growth, making our energy sources more sustainable, our energy consumption more efficient and our economy more resilient to energy price shocks – those things are a vital part of the growth and wealth that we need."
Also speaking at the launch of the Energy Efficiency Mission, energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, highlighted the wide range of policies the Government has in place for driving energy efficiency investments, including the Green Deal, the carbon floor price, Climate Change Agreements, Enhanced Capital Allowances, the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the Green Investment Bank and the Carbon Reduction Commitment.
As part of its new mission, the Government is striving to achieve a more ‘coherent’ approach to promoting these to investors around the world, as well as to UK businesses and the wider public.
Mr Cameron explained: "Already today Britain is one of the best places for green energy, green investment and crucially for green jobs anywhere in the world... But I want to go further.
“I want to bring these [policies] together and really explain to the world, and particularly investors, what is available here in Britain... Together we can make Britain a global showcase for green innovation and energy efficiency. Together we can do the right thing for our planet and, just as important, do the right thing for our economy too."
The Prime Minister’s comments have largely been welcomed as a boost to green businesses.
Rhian Kelly, director for business environment policy at the CBI, also said: "Businesses know that going green can boost growth. Our research shows that supporting the UK's low carbon economy with the right policies could potentially add £20 billion to GDP [Gross Domestic Product] by 2015."
Meanwhile, a new Tech for Growth report has just been released by the EEF manufacturers’ trade association, urging greater support for low carbon manufacturing.
It warns that our manufacturing output of low carbon goods is “faltering” and the UK is in danger of missing out on a green growth opportunity worth £880 billion to the economy between now and 2050.
David Ost, EEF's North West director, said: "The low carbon economy represents a massive opportunity for manufacturers and a major prize for our economy.
"If we can build an early lead in key areas we have the chance to export our solutions to the rest of the world. But we are currently failing to take advantage of this opportunity to be a world leader in low carbon goods and services."
While the low carbon goods and services market grew by 4.7 per cent in 2010/11, according to Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) figures, low carbon manufacturing output actually contracted slightly.
Meanwhile, green manufacturing sectors in countries like the US, China, India and South Korea all recorded double-digit growth over the same time period.
Posted under Environmental Regulations and Legislation, Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy, Energy and Renewables and Environmental Technologies on 19 February 2013