Carbon emissions

UK companies call for CO2 emissions cut by 2030

Corporate leaders of some of the major UK companies have joined together to lobby the government to bring in a target to slash emissions from the power sector by 2030.

The companies, in a letter addressed to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, criticised the divide in the government over the future of energy supplies. The letter also includes a questioning of the UK government’s commitment to meet its target in tackling climate change.

Companies warn that the government’s plans are uncertain at this moment and are paralysing investment and undermining the domestic economy’s growth prospects.

In order to drive investment into low-carbon infrastructure, government advisers on climate change have also called on ministers to introduce a target to de-carbonise the energy sector by 2030.

The Treasury has been pushing an agenda to promote gas supplies. This is despite the support for a low-carbon target advocated by the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

The heads of Unilever, Doosan Power Systems, Anglian Water, Philips Electronics UK, B&Q owner Kingfisher, EDF Energy, Johnson Matthey and Heathrow Airport have now joined the calls for a target to be introduced.

The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, patroned by the Prince of Wales, have warned: "Attempts to set a strong economy at odds with effective policies on climate change are self-defeating."

They went on to say: "The only successful long-term plan to grow the UK economy will be one which takes account of climate change, both to reduce the risk of a changing climate to business and to support access for British business to the rapidly growing global market for low carbon goods and services."

A low-carbon signal to investors is needed. These companies suggest that an indicative emissions target should be introduced through secondary legislation to set the level of ambition for reducing greenhouse gases from the power sector. 

They also said the government needs to be very clear on how low carbon investment will be delivered in a cost-effective manner.

"This includes looking at the right incentives to support development of less mature low-carbon technologies and ensuring competitiveness impacts will be addressed, especially by securing comparable EU targets for 2030."

The letter is being sent ahead of an expected meeting of David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chancellor George Osborne, Energy Secretary Ed Davey and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to discuss the issue.

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