Energy policy U-turns in 2015 may have lost the UK its lead in paving the way to a low carbon economy. A report published today by six of Britain’s leading development and environment organisations suggests that confidence in the UK’s domestic low carbon industries is falling, causing its global ranking and market share to drop. The UK no longer leads worldwide markets like it used to, something the authors say could have a negative impact on the country.
Analysis published today suggests that as the world’s economy shifts to low carbon, there are worrying signs that the UK is losing its lead. Consequently, it risks missing out on the sizeable economic opportunity of new global investment.
It is predicted that $1,900 billion will be spent worldwide on low carbon generation, energy efficiency and carbon capture by 2030. The UK previously led these markets, exporting low carbon services and expertise to the world’s major emerging economies.
The analysis reveals that:
- The UK’s infrastructure pipeline shows increasing focus on high carbon projects: high carbon infrastructure spending has grown from 13 per cent in 2013 to 33 per cent in 2016 while low carbon spending is falling.
- Major policy U-turns in 2015 mean that UK domestic investment has slowed or gone in reverse in key development areas such as building insulation, onshore renewables and carbon capture and storage.
It concludes that to restore the UK as a market leader the government must:
- Support low carbon industry at home.
- Champion UK low carbon experts and projects overseas, positioning the UK as an expert business partner in low carbon delivery.
- Retain the UK’s competitive edge by supporting innovation in low carbon technologies.
- Continue to raise global climate ambitions, maintaining the UK’s position as an international climate leader.
Lord Mandelson, President of Policy Network and Chairman of Global Counsel, said: “The global low carbon transformation will be one of the big drivers of the world economy in the 21st Century. At COP21 in Paris, the UK government showed bold global leadership. This analysis highlights it needs to demonstrate equally bold leadership to make sure decarbonisation isn’t a missed opportunity for business and prosperity in the UK.”
Sir John Armitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “The Paris Accord sends a strong and clear message on the need for low carbon infrastructure and what we need to achieve by 2050. This is positive – a real turning point – and sets industry on a path towards a common global goal. Change on such a radical scale will however bring challenges. To lead the challenge we need the right combination of new technology, together with clear and stable government policies and incentives.”
Lord Barker, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: “To succeed in a world rapidly shifting to a low carbon economy, the UK needs more internationally competitive and innovative clean industries. To achieve this, we need to super charge our climate and energy strategy to create an even more attractive investment environment in which innovation and the entrepreneurs of the future can thrive.”
Adam Bruce, former Chairman of UK Offshore Wind Programme Board and global head of corporate affairs at Mainstream Renewable Power, said: “This report shows clearly that the UK is in danger of losing its leading position in the global race to build a vibrant low carbon economy. It is clearly in the interests of UK plc to secure as much as possible of the multi-billion dollar international low carbon goods and services market, and government policy needs to be fully aligned with this objective.”
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said: “The latest reports have been unanimous in declaring 2015 a record year for investment in renewables, with developing countries now overtaking affluent ones on the fast lane to a clean energy world. Millions of jobs and billions of pounds of investments are up for grabs globally, yet the UK government is now backtracking on the very policies that have given this country a head start. The UK has already done much of the heavy-lifting and pioneering on clean energy. It would be a huge loss and a missed opportunity if Britain ended up watching from the side-lines whilst others reap the rewards of the low carbon revolution we’ve helped to spark.”
David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, said: “Low carbon growth is the only option if the UK is to meet its emissions targets and retain its position as a leader in the global green economy. Yet some Ministers have sent confusing messages about their commitment to green energy and technologies. That’s why it’s vital the government now agrees a strong fifth carbon budget, and backs it up with an emissions reduction plan setting out exactly how we’ll build low carbon solutions into the DNA of UK Plc.”
Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, said: “The Paris Agreement has invigorated the global transition to a low carbon economy and new technology is coming down the infrastructure pipeline. Developing countries are helping set the pace, with the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and India’s Solar Alliance outlining ambitious plans to ramp up clean energy. The UK can either ride this wave or be swept away by it. As a nation with a history of innovation and global connections, Britain used to be a leader in clean technology development. It’s sad to see it stand by and let its position slide just as the sector takes off around the world. Everyone knows where the future is heading. It’s time Britain reclaimed its position as a global leader.”
Chris Bain, Director of CAFOD, said: “Renewable energy not only helps tackle climate change, it’s almost the most cost effective way to help the one in five people worldwide who don’t have access to electricity. Richer countries now must help developing countries get the energy needed for development without locking them in to using outdated, polluting fossil fuel systems. The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement set us on the path to a new carbon future; the UK government must now deliver on its promises.”
Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of RSPB, said: “This analysis shows that the UK simply can’t afford to ignore the growing global demand for low carbon energy solutions. The RSPB recently set out ways by which we can deliver the renewable energy future we need in harmony with nature. Investing in innovation means we will be leading by example in transitioning to a low carbon economy, essential for people and for wildlife.”
Matthew Spencer, Director of Green Alliance, said: “World markets are becoming low carbon faster than anyone predicted, partly because of UK diplomatic leadership on carbon reduction. But if the UK wants to maintain its share of international trade in energy services, construction and transport technology it will have to shore up domestic demand. British businesses will only maintain their international competitiveness if they have stable home markets for zero carbon buildings, power plant and vehicles.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”