Climate Change report slams UK’s poor investment in low carbon tech

Posted on 29 Jun 2012

The Committee on Climate Change has slammed the UK’s lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power technologies.

The Committee on Climate Change’s 2012 Progress Report published today highlights how only 0.8% of gas emissions reductions in 2011 were linked to carbon lowering measures.

Overall emissions fell by 7% last year due to a combination of factors like weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation. However, the underlying rate of progress is only a quarter of that required to meet future carbon budgets.

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions weighted by global warming potential has increased within transport and residential use over the last decade, according to statistics from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). However, the carbon dioxide equivalent of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial process has fallen from 14.2 million tonnes of in 2005 to 8.7 million tonnes in 2011.

The report highlighted the lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power technologies, the poor standard of energy efficiency and renewable heat in homes and workplaces, the limited emission-cutting improvements made to new vans and the cautious consumer response to electric vehicles as key emitting sectors that have not done enough to drive down emissions.

CEO of the Committee on Climate Change David Kennedy has called for an increase in the level of investment for renewable energy and criticised the lack of green improvements made by van manufacturers.

Kennedy’s comments come as wind turbine maker Vestas shelved plans to build a manufacturing site in Kent this week citing a lack of orders. The decision highlights the instability around green investment and was a major setback to the sector with the 1,600 jobs that were set to be created now up in the air.

“As the economy recovers it will be difficult to keep the country on track to meet budgets,” reasoned Mr Kennedy. “We need to tackle major challenges to drive emissions down across the economy – and to do this as a matter of urgency.

Steve Radley, director of policy at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, warned against creating an adverse environment for industry.

“Increasing the pace of reductions in emissions four fold will require an enormous effort,” he said.

“If we are to achieve this, it must be done as cost-effectively as possible and must not damage industry’s competitiveness in the process. This means placing affordability at the heart of energy market reforms and ensuring support for low carbon technologies is made both more attractive to investors and affordable for consumers.”