Cut carbon and create jobs, say MPs

28 March 2010

The Energy and Climate Change Committee says low carbon technologies will create jobs and lower carbon dioxide emissions but the Government must act faster if the UK is to reap the economic benefits it deserves. To date, there has been disappointingly slow progress with the move towards a green economy, it adds

Launching the report, Paddy Tipping MP, Acting Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said:

"Investment in low carbon technologies must be seen as key to a sustainable economic recovery over the long term. The Government should increase the proportion of public money spent on the development and uptake of low carbon technologies because they have a vital role to play in the move towards a green economy.

"In particular, these technologies have the potential to reduce the carbon intensity of processes at every stage of the energy supply chain, resulting in lower emissions, many new jobs and sustainable growth for the UK economy.

Having reviewed low carbon technologies across the energy supply chain - from low carbon energy generation, through storage and transmission, to end user efficiency - the Committee concludes that whilst the development of many such technologies will require significant support from both the public and private sector, they have the potential to create jobs. In 2007/8, there were 881,000 so-called 'green jobs' in the UK’s low carbon and environmental goods and services sector. This could potentially grow by 44 per cent to over 1.27 million jobs by 2015.

Energy generation

  • Government has done well to develop a regulatory system for carbon capture and storage (CCS), but slow progress on demonstration projects has put the UK behind international competitors. Faster deployment of CCS technology is essential if the UK is to exploit the huge export potential within any future global CCS market
  • Government must do more to ensure that proper consultation and good public engagement is carried out for all aspects of nuclear energy (including the siting of new reactors, decommissioning and waste management) if the public are to accept this low carbon energy source
  • There is huge potential for workers from the oil and gas sector to use their skills in emerging renewables industries, such as offshore wind

Smarter energy

  • Implementation of the Government’s target to install smart meters in every home by 2020 needs to be fully integrated with the development of smart communication technologies, smart appliances and electric vehicles if the benefits of demand-side management are to be realised

Domestic efficiency

  • The Government must tackle domestic energy efficiency more aggressively
  • Energy efficiency measures can be implemented using a number of existing technologies such as cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazing, and on-site microgeneration
  • The nature of this work is local and offers considerable scope for the rapid creation of local green jobs in every community across the UK in the energy efficiency and building technologies sector

Green investment

  • The Government should widen its portfolio of green fiscal policy measures to drive forward investment in low carbon technologies. These should include auctioning of carbon permits, issuing green bonds, increasing the public and community ownership of energy-related assets, or establishing a green infrastructure bank

Image: iStockphoto

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