Green business group publishes plan for the new government centred on renewable energy, grid flexibility, transport decarbonisation, and innovation
Sustainable business think tank the Aldersgate Group has today published a “manifesto” outlining how the new government can accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions economy.
The report calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce a programme of targeted environmental regulation and technological innovation support to drive the low carbon transition.
In keeping with Johnson’s recent calls for an optimistic focus on the economic opportunities facing the UK, the manifesto highlights the commercial gains that can flow from the decarbonisation challenge.
It cites recent business trials involving companies within the Aldersgate Group’s member netwirk, which found the move to a more resource efficient economy could deliver £76bn in Gross Value Added to the UK economy by 2030.
It also points to a series of recent surveys suggesting that British public opinion is swinging behind the need for bolder climate action, and looks outwards at an international context where investments in low carbon solutions globally are “overall on the rise”.
These circumstances should provide extra impetus for the government to start taking action towards its net zero goal, the manifesto says.
“The time has now come to focus on delivery,” said Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group. “If the UK is to attract the large volume of affordable private sector investment required to deliver its environmental and climate ambitions and strengthen its competitive advantage in these fast growing areas of the global economy, Boris Johnson’s government needs to rapidly flesh out a plan of action for the decade ahead to put the UK on track for achieving net zero emissions and introduce an ambitious and comprehensive Environment Bill.”
Specifically, the report calls for several priority actions that the group argues need to be urgently taken in order to catalyse progress.
Chief among them is the proposal for a new ‘Clean Growth Strategy Plus’ programme, which will ramp up the government’s existing strategy to bring it into line with the new 2050 net zero goal.
The manifesto argues that key elements of the new strategy should include securing a route to market for mature forms of renewable energy such as onshore wind; growing the market for flexibility options such as increased storage capacity and demand side response; and decarbonising surface transport as a matter of urgency.
The report also calls for greater support to bring innovative clean technologies to scale and more extensive investment in the deployment of ultra-low carbon technologies. “The UK’s innovation policy needs to move beyond the fear of failure and be based on the recognition that successful and unsuccessful trials offer equally important lessons for good policy making,” it says.
Beyond the need for a new strategy, the report focuses on the importance of the Environment Bill, alongside the need to establish an Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to enforce its laws. It also emphasises the importance of effectively implementing the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, building on the Green Finance Strategy, and addressing the skills gap to ensure a sustainable and just transition.