Leading companies including Shell, Unilever and EDF Energy have written to prime minister David Cameron, urging him to maintain the UK’s fourth carbon budget to strengthen investor confidence.
In a letter co-ordinated by the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group, senior figures from firms also including BT, Kingfisher and Anglian Water have called on Cameron to follow the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.
The fourth carbon budget, which covers the period from 2023 to 2027, currently rules that the UK economy should have reduced its climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% on levels from 1990 by 2025.
The government is set to review the fourth carbon budget this year. However, the CCC’s review ruled that there was “no legal or economic basis” for lowering the decarbonisation targets.
The business leaders’ letter reads, “The UK has a strong tradition of leadership on climate change, underpinned by a cross-party consensus on the need to reduce carbon emissions and a broad policy framework to deliver a low-carbon future.
“As business leaders we value this clarity and commitment, and wish to see it maintained.”
It concludes, “We stand ready to support efforts by the government to ensure that the UK is able to deliver a prosperous, low-carbon economy and to demonstrate the international leadership required to deliver effective action in Europe and globally, thus ensuring a level playing field for business.”
Sir Ian Cheshire, chief executive of Kingfisher, added, “No matter what business you are in, if you are looking forward you recognise there is no alternative but to transition to a low carbon economy.
“The fourth carbon budget sets out the trajectory the UK’s transition will take. It’s important that the government reaffirms this so that businesses have the certainty they need to make investment decisions.”
Commenting on the CCC’s findings in December, Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said the UK urgently requires investment of around £330 billion in its energy infrastructure by 2030.