Warning over cutting investment in the low-carbon economy
Reducing current spending on low carbon technology would be "like cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939", the chairman of the Climate Change Select Committee warned has warned.
Tim Yeo, chairman of the Climate Change Select Committee, told the Guardian the Government needed to put more investment in areas such as renewable power, rather than less. Yeo has made these comments ahead of planned announcements regarding spending cuts.
He said he was concerned the forthcoming spending review would see funding for clean coal technology delayed or worse, cash cut for upgrading ports to handle offshore wind farms and green subsidies for small-scale renewables reduced. Changes to these schemes could make the UK renewables sector too unpredictable to survive, he warned.
He said: "Cutting spending on low carbon technologies now would be like cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939.The UK was running an even bigger deficit in the 1930s, but we would never have won the Battle of Britain if spending on defence had been sacrificed. Of course, today we are not faced with imminent invasion but in many ways the destabilisation of the global climate also poses a grave threat to our long-term national security."
His comments come as the Trades Union Congress, the Aldersgate Group of businesses and environmental groups and Friends of the Earth called on Chancellor George Osborne to lead the UK out of recession through investment in the low-carbon economy. They have written to Osborne asking him to protect vital green measures in the forthcoming spending review.
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth's director of policy and campaigns, said: "The downturn gives the Government a chance to make a new start - leading the UK out of recession by building a prosperous low-carbon economy that is not dangerously dependent on coal and oil.
"Green investment is urgently needed to unlock the massive jobs potential of new technologies and industries like off-shore wind, and support energy efficiency schemes that will save businesses, local authorities and taxpayers billions of pounds a year."