The TUC is among a 35-strong alliance of organisations today calling on MPs to back changes to the Energy Bill that would see the UK have a near carbon free power sector by 2030. Only yesterday, the EEF reported that innovation in the UK is being undermined by the erosion in spending on R&D activities, particularly on new energy technologies, compared with that of our competitors – see chart below. The signatories cover a wide range of economic and civil society groups – energy and supply chain companies, investors, unions, church groups and NGOs.
The EEF called on the government to complement a 2030 decarbonisation target with a goal to match the OECD average for government expenditure on energy and environment R&D over this period and make progress in each Spending Review.
The next opportunity to include a carbon target in the Energy Bill is the Report Stage in early March, where MPs will debate an amendment laid by Tim Yeo MP and Barry Gardner MP. This would require the UK Government to set a ‘decarbonisation target’ by 1 April 2014, which would put the UK on track to have a largely decarbonised power sector by 2030 in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.
The groups behind this amendment to the Bill, say that they are “united in the belief that a low-carbon power sector is essential to secure the future wellbeing of our economy”, arguing that the Energy Bill “represents a major opportunity to put the UK firmly on track to becoming a world leading low-carbon economy, boost employment and show genuine leadership in the fight against dangerous climate change.”
WWF coordinated the initiative. WWF chief executive David Nussbaum said: “This is exactly the sort of long-term signal that investors are looking for if we want to attract the billions of pounds of investment needed to strengthen the UK’s position as an industrial leader in green technologies, creating highly-skilled jobs in the process.”