While the UK may claim that it wants to be environmentally friendly and “green,” they are quickly losing the race on this front. A report by the US Pew Environment Group shows that the UK moved from being third in the world in its green growth investments to being in 13th place. 13th place may not sound terrible – but it ranks the UK behind such locations as Brazil (6th) and India (10th).
While the UK invested $11bn in alternative energy and clean technology in 2009, they committed only $3.3bn last year. This news comes just as an important cabinet discussion will convene to discuss the UK’s climate change targets looking past 2020.
Green Energy Fighting
Fighting continues between the Department of Energy and Climate Change which wants targets to stimulate green growth and the Treasury and the Department of Business, which says that less stringent targets are necessary for ten years from now.
Now, Ministers are going to have to decide who they should listen to and follow. The Committee on Climate Change said last year, for instance, that the UK should cut emissions by 60% by 2030, as compared to the 1990 levels.
Pushing Back Progress
Many are concerned about the lack of impressive efforts on the green front. Meg Hillier, shadow energy and climate spokeswoman said, “If we do not move fast we will slip back even further, and companies will shut up shop here or go abroad.” The chief policy adviser for Greenpeace, Ruth Davis, added, “The Conservatives came to power promising to end dithering on energy decisions but instead investors face a continuing atmosphere of uncertainty.”
Businesses Get Into the Fight
Stepping up before the Cabinet meets to discuss these issues, 10 major UK companies met to write an urgent appeal to the Prime Minister to take a stand. These companies including Unilever, Kingfisher, Tesco, Thames Water, EDF Energy and Shell said that they support the Committee on Climate Change’s desire for steady progress and that they want a strong fourth carbon budget that would help them to reach the 2030 milestone of a 60% or more reduction. They also urged more international action on greenhouse gas emissions with a focus on aviation and shipping sectors.