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

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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.

 

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 280.

    @278
    emotional appeals are all the warmists have

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 279.

    If China don't cut their emissions then we may as well howl at the moon.

  • Comment number 278.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 277.

    One has to accept that mankind will mine and burn all the oil and gas and coal that is possible until none is left. Emmisions targets are therefore pointless - the carbon "saved" is not left in the ground, it is just burned by someone else a year or two later. The only real hope for the planet is all that burning is completed before the weather system collapses.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 276.

    Black_Pearl - what are the constraints of your realism? Keep going down the same path till we are faced with an insurmountable challenge that no amount of money can scale?

    Transfer to a new energy infrastructure will cost money. There is no escaping this. In the past this has been subsidised by captive markets to sell the goods but this time it will require civic sacrifice.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 275.

    269.TheRealist

    Yea, screw it...let's just sit on our fat butts happily consuming and polluting the planet to toxicity and not worry about our ancestors of millions of years ago who survived so we can live our lives today. NOT.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 274.

    262.PEARL
    If CO2 emmissions are such a bad horrible world killing gas why is Germany (in the heart of the EU) allowed to build 23 coal powered stations & we have to close ours
    ***
    No answers !
    Its because unfortunately their heavy investment in renewables is not working.
    Unfortune I would like them to do the job as well as the next person but apparently they are not & we have to be realistic

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 273.

    @271 you also need to consider the number of scientists who fake data to achieve a pre-conceived result, such as Lewandowsky

    Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, recently wrote a scathing letter on the subject. It's a pdf, so I can't link to the letter.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 272.

    @271.Albert

    Not sure where you're going with that.
    Scientists are as prone to lobbyists as politicians - as soon as power or money is involved, that's it - that's why whenever quoting research you should also quote the people funding it.

    Pharma, biotec, agriculture, environmentalism. All have been pervaded by corporate interests.

    It's hard to tease the agendas from the truth.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 271.

    @35 'You have never been able to trust a politician but it is sad when you can no longer trust a scientist who is motivated more by the need to obtain funding than the real truth."

    and it is sad that people no longer trust scientists who ARE motivated by the real truth because they have been told a load of right-wing ideological gibberish about taxes and funding by the economic far right.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 270.

    261. Peter "With unemployment so high the pits should be reopened... Give people proper jobs."

    With unemployment so high, we should invest in the renewables industry - it is and will be THE energy opportunity of the century, where potentially millions of the "proper jobs" will be, rather than where they were 100 years ago.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 269.

    240. David Willett
    Imagine that, if all life on earth were to die, then quite possibly all life in the universe would also cease to exist. Or perhaps we're not the only life forms out there and our extinction would just be another part of nature going about it's merry way. We should just make the most of the time we have and whatever happens will happen. Let's go nuclear :)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 268.

    @267.WH, in 1938 the UK did do nothing, a British PM, Neville Chamberlin came back from Hitler smug in himself waving a piece of paper stating, 'Peace in our times', within 12 months we were at war, and that after Germany invaded Poland and started to threaten the low countries and Fance.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 267.

    @58

    Your reasoning is ridiculous. Move it away from climate change & put it into another context, perhaps then you'll see how flawed it is.
    Go back to 1939. By your reasoning the UK should sit back and do nothing as Hitler slaughters millions of innocent Jews, because the US and India aren't doing anything about it either.
    If everyone had that attitude of then no progress would ever get made.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 266.

    Several companies are now working on 10MW turbines specifically for use offshore where the wind is stronger and more consistent. These are expected to have a capacity factor of over 40%. 11,000 of these would produce as much electricity per year as the annual consumption of the UK. However a mix of different renewable sources would be better. 3000 turbines would make a very useful contribution.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 265.

    @259.Rufus McDufus
    "But my point is that it by denying climate change"

    They deny our involvement in it, not the change itself. CO2 levels have been far higher in the past. Life will go on. Weather patterns will change. We will change too.

    CO2-PANIC is being peddled by megacorps, gvmt, and the green lobby is there because of selfish agendas, not for any care of the people or the earth.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 264.

    While Climate change is happening, it is difficult to see if it is a result of humanity or simply a repeating cycle in the planets natural cycle. All we have are 200-300 years of weather records to base models on, and in the first 150-200 years most measurements where not exactly acurate using archiaic thermometers which had a significant variance.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 263.

    Wind turbines work well with hydroelectric. When the wind blows we use wind power, when it falls we use hydro, when wind produces too much power we store surplus energy in pumped hydro reservoirs. We have some hydroelectric capacity and are planning more. We are also planning a high voltage DC link to Norway to share our wind power with their extensive hydro capacity. Cheap, clean and reliable.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 262.

    256.Drunken Hobo
    Your BSE "argument" is also nonsensical.
    ***
    Well thats the logic you apply to the debate.

    Anyway back on topic.
    If CO2 emmissions are such a bad horrible world killing gas why is Germany (in the heart of the EU) allowed to build 23 coal powered stations & we have to close ours

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 261.

    We have billions of tons of coal under our feet. Yet we buy coal from abroad. With unemployment so high the pits should be reopened. Britain is now burning more coal at anytime since 2006. Coal imports are up 20% to 18 million tons this year. 42 per cent of all UK electricity is from coal. Th UK produces about 19 million tons per year. Give the people proper jobs.

 

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