Green Alliance in ‘red alert’ on low carbon shift

A group of six environmental and development charities have questioned the UK’s ability to shift to a low carbon economy.

Ahead of Philip Hammond’s maiden Autumn Statement tomorrow, the Green Alliance called on the Chancellor to announce new investment in low carbon infrastructure.

The group wants Hammond to:

  • allocate an additional £2 billion funding support for low-carbon power post-2020;
  • allocate funding to scale up low carbon heat technologies;
  • continue to support people in buying ultra-low emission vehicles beyond 2018;
  • and develop a nationwide network of publicly accessible low-carbon charging points.

The charities said the measures were needed if the UK was to hit its low-carbon targets.

Potential for £47bn of renewables investment

The UK renewables industry could attract £47bn in new investment from 2021 to 2026 through continued government backing, the group said.
Retrofitting more of the UK’s housing stock to improve its energy efficiency could unlock £73bn of investment and support 86,000 jobs a year, it said.

The group added that focusing on skills and infrastructure for electric and autonomous vehicles could trigger £51bn-worth of investment and create 320,000 industrial jobs by 2030.

But it also warned that renewables investment is expected to drop by 96% by 2020-21 and that total public investment in domestic energy efficiency had already declined from £1.5bn to £700 million in 2015.

‘The next industrial revolution’

Glyn Davies, Acting Chief Executive at WWF-UK, said: “As a green industrial revolution gets underway worldwide, the UK – once a leading player in international climate negotiations and the first nation to adopt a domestic Climate Change Act – is in danger of slipping behind.  
“Swift ratification of the Paris agreement and a comprehensive plan for low carbon growth are urgently needed to restore the confidence of investors, environmentalists and green entrepreneurs.”

John Sauven, Greenpeace’s Executive Director, added: “The government should grasp the potential of the huge technological changes that have led to the cost of electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery storage falling over recent years.

“The UK is well positioned to be a leader in the next industrial revolution especially for electric vehicles and offshore wind.

“But if we miss the opportunity, other countries will seize it, and we will miss out on new jobs, sustainable economic growth and export potential.”

> Read the Green Alliance's statement