UK must set a green example to China, say MPs

Posted on 29 Aug 2012

Britain must lead the way and focus on low-carbon development if it is to maintain influence and competiveness in the Chinese market, a group of MPs said today.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee said China’s emerging low-carbon markets are worth around £430bn a year. Their report, Low Carbon Links with China, warned that the UK’s reputation was in danger of becoming tarnished and that the country is likely to be seen as ‘more talk than action’ if plans are not followed through.

The Committee was led by Tory MP Tim Yeo who spoke of the ‘dangerous and disruptive temperature rises’ if China does not succeed in building a low-carbon economy.

He said: “By demonstrating low-carbon leadership at home, the UK could punch well above its weight in encouraging major emitters like China towards low-carbon development, but only if ministers can come up with a more focused strategy.”

Tory MP Tim Yeo
South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo

Mr Yeo spoke of the potential opportunities for British companies if the Government was to place green technology at the heart of their plans: “British firms could benefit enormously as China invests in carbon, capture and storage and wind, wave and tidal power, but the Government needs to do more to help them gain access to these huge potential markets.”

He also called for the Government to ‘strengthen their brand’ in order to convince China to do business.

Responding to the Committee’s report, a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said:  “China is the world’s largest source of CO2 emissions and also its largest potential market for UK low-carbon goods and services. China deserves – and is receiving – our attention as we seek a global agreement to emissions reductions and develop new markets for UK companies.”

The Department welcomed the suggestions made in the report and reiterated their plans for major expansion in offshore wind and to remove investment barriers in nuclear energy.

The spokesman said: “Our reforms to the electricity market and commitment to low-carbon energy will make the UK a leading destination for investment from all four corners of the world, supporting jobs and growth across the country. We are determined to help create a cost-competitive carbon capture and storage industry in the 2020s.”