7 July 2015 | Herpreet Grewal
Policymakers must prioritise the improved energy efficiency of the UK's infrastructure, according to a new report.
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, an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy, which produced the report, urges policymakers to provide clarity as soon as possible on the funding and level of ambition for low carbon technologies beyond 2020. It also advises prioritising the improved energy efficiency of the UK's infrastructure, continuing the positive work done to date in international climate negotiations, and providing the necessary support to vulnerable parts of society and the economy in doing so.
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 to ensure that 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.
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."
John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: "This report demonstrates the breadth of support - across business, academia and civil society - for an urgent and well-overdue national energy efficiency programme, to transform our inefficient homes and buildings. It is particularly timely given the real doubts that are surfacing about the government's commitment to the green economy.