Green vow urged on emissions trade revenue
Millions of pounds raised by auctioning off carbon emissions permits to industry should be spent on combating climate change, business leaders and conservationists have demanded.
According to the CBI, the Government is set to earn some £1.6 billion between now and 2012 through the auctioning of some of the allowances distributed under the EU's emissions trading scheme.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a coalition led by the CBI and conservation charity WWF urged the Government to invest as much money as it earns through the trading scheme auction in low-carbon technology and adapting to climate change.
It said: "We believe that climate change can be mitigated, and the UK can meet its long-term emissions targets.
"But doing so will require imagination, innovation, and in particular investment from across the public and private sectors."
The letter said the UK needed to substantially increase spending on green energy technology, research and deployment.
The coalition said the hundreds of millions of pounds raised each year by the auctioning of permits "represents a tremendous opportunity for the Government to demonstrate its real commitment by announcing an equivalent scale investment in securing the transition to a low-carbon economy and in adaptation".
"While we accept there may be some technical difficulties in ringfencing the revenue, it should be perfectly possible to announce a similar investment in low carbon technologies and adaptation equivalent to the revenue raised by auctioning."
The letter urged Mr Brown to make a clear statement that the money would be spent fighting climate change.
It is signed by CBI director general Paul Lambert, CBI climate change task force chairman Ben Verwaayen, WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum and Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK and co-chair of the Energy Research Partnership.
A Defra spokesman said: "Government allocates its income according to overall spending priorities, which include schools and hospitals, as well as low carbon technologies and tackling climate change.
"As the CBI points out, the Government is already providing unprecedented investment and support for low carbon technologies, including £400 million through the Environmental Transformation Fund between now and 2011, the establishment of the Technology Strategy Board,and increased investment for scientific research and the Energy Technologies Institute, which will have up to £1.1 billion to spend over the next decade.
"At the same time, we are promoting other mechanisms that recognise that public spending isn't the only way to stimulate change.
"All of these measures taken together will help the UK move towards a low carbon economy."
Image: Millions of pounds raised by auctioning off carbon emissions permits to industry should be spent on combating climate change, coalition urges