Carbon emissions target urged by business leaders

 
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Ministers must set a specific target for restricting carbon emissions from power generation, businesses have said.

The plea is made in an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne signed by 50 businesses and organisations.

They want a target for how emissions should be curbed by 2030, arguing that a failure to show commitment to reducing carbon emissions may harm the economy and their commercial prospects.

Mr Osborne has outlined plans to get energy from gas beyond 2030.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband has backed a 2030 target for the power sector and the Liberal Democrats have supported a target under the Energy Bill, to be included in secondary legislation to allow flexibility.

The government's climate advisers have warned support for future gas plants without technology fitted to cut emissions is not compatible with climate change legislation and is harming investment in low-carbon power such as renewables and nuclear.

Companies and investors have joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn the chancellor that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.

The introduction of a carbon intensity target for the energy sector would, they say, provide investors with the long term confidence needed to transform the electricity market and promote wider economic growth.

Start Quote

It is essential for government to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need to transform our electricity market”

End Quote Open letter

Such a target would also be in line with recent recommendations from the independent Committee on Climate Change

The letter was signed by 50 businesses and organisations, including Microsoft, Marks and Spencer, Alliance Boots and Asda.

In it, they warn the Mr Osborne that uncertainty over the government's commitment to low-carbon power generation is harming the development of green businesses.

The letter states: "The government's perceived commitment to the low carbon transition is being undermined by recent statements calling for unabated gas in the power sector beyond 2030 and the absence of a specific carbon intensity target."

It highlights a recent report by business group the CBI, which estimates that while a third of UK growth in 2011/2012 came from green businesses, policy uncertainty could lose the UK £400m in exports in 2014/2015 alone.

"It is essential for government to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need to transform our electricity market and make investments capable of driving wider economic growth," says the letter.

Peter Young, chairman of the Aldersgate Group which co-ordinated the move, called for an end to "any political uncertainty surrounding the UK's energy future".

And Andy Atkins, executive director at Friends of the Earth, which backed the letter, said Mr Osborne's support for gas power was looking "increasingly isolated".

Asda, Aviva, British American Tobacco, EDF, Microsoft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Philips, Sky and the Co-operative are among the businesses to have signed the letter.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 296.

    Targets only have value if they are met or beaten. I'm fed up of targets set nationally and globally that are ignored and never met - Kyoto comes to mind

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 266.

    Several companies are now working on 10MW turbines specifically for use offshore where the wind is stronger and more consistent. These are expected to have a capacity factor of over 40%. 11,000 of these would produce as much electricity per year as the annual consumption of the UK. However a mix of different renewable sources would be better. 3000 turbines would make a very useful contribution.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 177.

    Renewables are expensive, but it's a one off cost. Once the infrastructure is in place, it's permanent. Plus there is no extraction and transportation costs.

    Unlike fossil, once the well dries up, you need to dig for new ones. Now we have to drill deeper and deeper for oil, eventually, making it not cost effective. So let's change our energy source, stop listening to the fossil fuel lobby.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 112.

    It's already too late, and the major polluters of the world will not significantly reduce their emission in any case, So why waste billions of pounds on worthless technology like wind farms when the real effect of the UK's measures are nothing more than the equivalent of an insect bite on an elephant.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 58.

    Whats the point in the UK/Europe doing this when the US, China, India, and the developing world are producing more and more. Reducing the UK CO2 output is like removing a bucket of sand from the Sahara....

 

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