Britain’s manufacturers are urging the government to bid to host the United Nation’s Climate Technology Centre or risk missing out on the chance to lead the low carbon revolution.
The Climate Technology Centre is being set up to help deploy low carbon technologies to developing countries, following the UN climate talks in Durban late last year.
Making the call in a post-Durban report What Next for Climate Change Policy?, manufacturers’ organisation EEF said the government’s ambition to become a market leader in the low carbon economy is beginning to lose pace. While the UK is strong in areas such as marine, waste and wind energy technology, countries like South Korea are much more focused on stimulating low-carbon innovation.
Brazil, Germany and the United States have already signalled their intention to bid for the Centre ahead of the deadline on 13 March.
Commenting, EEF director of policy Steve Radley said: “Developing new technologies must be at the forefront of the global response to climate change and UK manufacturers can play a major role in bringing them forward. This new centre will be instrumental in leading the transfer of technologies from the developed to the developing world and we must be at the heart of this.“
As well as bidding for the Climate Technology Centre, the report calls on government to set out its strategy for developing the technologies required to meet long-term emission reduction targets.
A key priority is to reduce the barriers to innovation, helping manufacturers to commercialise more quickly cost-effective technological solutions to climate change. Working through these barriers domestically can help to speed up deployment globally.
As part of this, the Green Investment Bank should be allowed to help industry develop new low carbon technologies, providing they offer strong environmental and financial returns for the UK taxpayer.
Steve Radley added: “Nothing was agreed in Durban that provides grounds for raising the ambition within Europe. But the argument for a new approach is stronger than ever. If we are to seriously tackle emissions from energy intensive, highly competitive global industries then these sectors have to be addressed at a global level.
“We believe this is the most equitable, realistic and environmentally-efficient approach. But industry can’t do it alone. If this is going to have a chance to work, we need government to work with us and start building support with other major producing countries to achieve this common goal.”