Carbon emissions target urged by business leaders

Coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany Coal-fired power stations are among the biggest polluters across Europe

Related Stories

Ministers must set a specific target for restricting carbon emissions from power generation, businesses have said.

The plea is made in an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne signed by 50 businesses and organisations.

They want a target for how emissions should be curbed by 2030, arguing that a failure to show commitment to reducing carbon emissions may harm the economy and their commercial prospects.

Mr Osborne has outlined plans to get energy from gas beyond 2030.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband has backed a 2030 target for the power sector and the Liberal Democrats have supported a target under the Energy Bill, to be included in secondary legislation to allow flexibility.

The government's climate advisers have warned support for future gas plants without technology fitted to cut emissions is not compatible with climate change legislation and is harming investment in low-carbon power such as renewables and nuclear.

Companies and investors have joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn the chancellor that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.

The introduction of a carbon intensity target for the energy sector would, they say, provide investors with the long term confidence needed to transform the electricity market and promote wider economic growth.

Start Quote

It is essential for government to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need to transform our electricity market”

End Quote Open letter

Such a target would also be in line with recent recommendations from the independent Committee on Climate Change

The letter was signed by 50 businesses and organisations, including Microsoft, Marks and Spencer, Alliance Boots and Asda.

In it, they warn the Mr Osborne that uncertainty over the government's commitment to low-carbon power generation is harming the development of green businesses.

The letter states: "The government's perceived commitment to the low carbon transition is being undermined by recent statements calling for unabated gas in the power sector beyond 2030 and the absence of a specific carbon intensity target."

It highlights a recent report by business group the CBI, which estimates that while a third of UK growth in 2011/2012 came from green businesses, policy uncertainty could lose the UK £400m in exports in 2014/2015 alone.

"It is essential for government to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need to transform our electricity market and make investments capable of driving wider economic growth," says the letter.

Peter Young, chairman of the Aldersgate Group which co-ordinated the move, called for an end to "any political uncertainty surrounding the UK's energy future".

And Andy Atkins, executive director at Friends of the Earth, which backed the letter, said Mr Osborne's support for gas power was looking "increasingly isolated".

Asda, Aviva, British American Tobacco, EDF, Microsoft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Philips, Sky and the Co-operative are among the businesses to have signed the letter.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    AIErgic 92. Totally agree but ALL political parties want to cut them down to cover the land with housing/roads, even tho well over a million empty properties. When there is no restriction on how many kids people can have & Osbourne will only "possibly" drop it a little in 2016 plus immigrants also breed like rabbits as they then claim fam. allowance,plus the rest. The cuts should be now,

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    @94.Sean, did you mean my comment? As I think you did missunderstand, one country doing this unilaterally will not stop climate change, even one region doing this will not help. It has to be a global goal not just a single countries goal. I agree we need to secure our future energy and that has to be a long term plan, but it wont solve climate change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    A few years ago, I attended several seminars on the proposal for a barrage across the River Mersey. The payback time for the various designs was around 25yrs and the barrage would have an operating life of around 100yrs. The proposals have been mothballed, as neither the private or public sector will start a project with less than a 20yr payback time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I'm a big climate sceptic btw
    Global warming is a total joke as far as I'm concerned

    But these windmill things are kewl

    Free energy... forever

    Even if the efficiency rate isn't top drawer, they last "forever" cranking out power 24/7

    Just do a basic service every 6000 miles and leave it to print money 24/7

    Simples !

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    presario "But scientifically there is no evidence.No? then show me"

    97% of the scientists agree. ALL the scientific institutions agree. The evidence is in the IPCC AR4, the most comprehensive scientific document in the history of man, 800 authors and reviewed by 1500 reviewers.

    But if you chose to listen to the looney fringe like Monckton and Delingpole, then you are beyond help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    #108 We actually do have the technology to reprocess nuclear waste and to properly dispose of the unusable stuff (Which I beleve has a half life of about 5 years). The problem is a political one, regarding who is allowed to do the reprocessing etc.

    The problem is that wind power is basically unmanagable. How far ahead can you plan a load suppoted by wind power?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    All this government is interested in is taking our taxes and handing them out to wind generated electricity companies as subsidies, but hang on, aren't subsidies unlawful under European Law and in any event should not the recipients of our subsidies/money be forced to stand on their own two feet and produce energy at a price equal to or less than other suppliers? Let us have a level playing field.

  • Comment number 113.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    It's already too late, and the major polluters of the world will not significantly reduce their emission in any case, So why waste billions of pounds on worthless technology like wind farms when the real effect of the UK's measures are nothing more than the equivalent of an insect bite on an elephant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Ref my post no. 64 regarding wood burners for heating - just to add that in our situation, with sustainbly sourced wood, it is the least pollunting method we have of heating our house.

    National Park status mean severe restrictions on us using sloar technology - but generally burners are less polluting than electric/gas/coal

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    The oilos running faster than they thought ,so why not make even more money by taxing it to the very end under the save the planet tag !

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Just another excuse for further rounds of green taxes.
    The global warming myth has been properly exposed and debunked. We should follow the Greek's example and take to the streets to protest when our government takes us for fools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    I don't understand the outrage towards nuclear power. We've already been using them for years and surely the next generation models are even safer and more efficient
    An issue people tend to forget/ignore ist that no way has yet been found to get rid of nuclear waste. Or do you want it buried in your garden? We can
    a) assume "it'll get fixed some time"
    b) use technologies we can better manage

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.


    The children! Won't somebody think of the children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Considering that man only produces 5% of emissions this would make us the worst. The real % is 0.25!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    The government thinks the problem can be solved by a leaflet campaign, taxes, sticking up a few windmills, fining people for putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin. It's an education problem; our elites are living in a liberal arts fantasy world. We need engineers to look at the problem, this problem can't be adressed by just another layer of spin

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Sorry and to add to my last comment, wind and water are well worth using BUT try to use as much timber in their construction as possible, because that is the only true way to improve things, assuming you plant replacement trees to keep it all going!

    PS. I'm a civil engineer who is a massive fan of sustainable construction. Green isn't necessarily sustainable!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Targets are a nonsense as figures are manipulatedin all,ie police who dont log crimes to start with,NHS various,schools with exam results etc. The only way to drop amount of carbon emissions is to drop population growth, why are politicians so slow in this even "possibly" lessening child allowance a little is too small. Max two children only with effect next yr not 2016. I see panic pregnancies

  • Comment number 102.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Look lets face it we are not going to reach the target and who really cares, we are broke. One way we could reach these targets is if we reduced the population so reducing demand. But no all the mainstream parties want to increase this, what ever they say in public as it is cheap labour. So it comes do to immigration again, lets cut this and send home those who have no right to be here.


Page 10 of 15


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.