A low-carbon economy: What steps will Britain take?

The importance of reducing carbon emissions has been at the top of the political agenda for many years, but it seems that the Government is taking more action than ever before.

We are at the point of no return. If we don’t tackle the environmental challenges we face, we could end up running out the resources we depend upon. Fossil fuels are diminishing; climate change is affecting the way the world works and natural resources are also reduced.

It’s for these reasons that the UK, and other countries, are working towards becoming low-carbon economies. If action isn’t taken, both the environment and the world economy could feel the reverberations.

However, many are beginning to wonder just how far Britain will go to achieve a low carbon economy.

Calls for action

Campaigners have been calling for the Government to step up and take action, sooner rather than later.

The “Green New Deal” group, whose members include Caroline Lucas, Ann Pettifor and Richard Murphy, is designed to prevent the UK from sliding into a triple credit crunch.

A recent report has found that consumers are spending as house prices are on the rise, but this could be bad news – the foundations for another economic crisis.As a result, the group claims that there is a desperate need for an alternative approach.

Andrew Simms, the man behind the report, said that the term recovery is premature due to the high levels of personal debt, the increase in low-paid work and rising carbon emissions.

The bubble may burst soon, but under the Green New Deal, the government would invest £50 billion into green technology.

The funding would be spread over five years and used to support the building of affordable houses, insulating existing homes and reducing energy consumption.

By transforming the economy, there could be more room for sustainable growth – a situation that could simultaneously prime the country for a low-carbon future.

Efficient buildings

The Government is playing a role in the search for a low-carbon economy, as just recently the UK construction industry landed £150 million funding. The money will be put towards improving the quality and efficiency of buildings over the next five years.

A large chunk of the cash has been invested via the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), but the Government and other agencies have contributed £30 million.

Low carbon buildings have already received significant investment, in the hope that the cost of energy could be reduced for both businesses and individuals.

Upon the announcement of the funding, Vince Cable, said: “Investing in energy efficient construction projects is important to help industry and government achieve our aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2025.”

The construction industry could play an integral role in supporting the future goal of a low-carbon economy, as it adds around £90 billion to the overall economy.

Automotive industry also benefits

The TSB has been very busy recently, as it has also announced that 27 low-carbon projects will receive £29 million government funding.

The competition, which produced the project winners, are run by the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform at TSB.

The chairman of the board, Phil Smith, said that its important UK businesses are delivering the innovative ideas that keep Britain at the forefront of the low-carbon automotive industry.

A claim that was also backed by the Transport Minister, Norman Baker:  “These innovative projects will help to strengthen the UK’s position at the vanguard of low carbon technology.”

Going green could improve employment rates

There is also the claim that by investing billions into a greener economy, the Government could secure employment for people that are desperately seeking work.

The MP for Brighton Pavilion, Lucas, said that workers could be trained to insulate homes up and down the country in a matter of weeks. She also emphasised how this method of reducing carbon emissions would be far more effective than opening a new nuclear power station.

It’s true that wages are being squeezed as real incomes are still falling, due to the high rate of inflation. The TUC has called the current situation “the greatest wage squeeze since the 1870s”.

While some people are still struggling to meet essentials costs and relying on credit because of the pressure on their finances, a full recovery may seem a long way off.

However, if the Government pushed forward with the investment as laid out by the Green New Deal, it could generate a more sustainable economy.

Posted by: Jessica Odell Categories: Finance Comments Off on A low-carbon economy: What steps will Britain take?

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