Government needs to appoint a chief secretary of carbon and climate change, and simplify regulation and procedures for developing green technologies. These were the main messages from the Green Collar Economy Forum, hosted in London by clean tech company Ultra Green. The purpose of the forum was to bring MPs and industry leaders together to address the forthcoming UK energy crisis, explore issues stunting the growth of the renewable energy sector and creation of green collar jobs.
Renewable energy targets
Peter Jones, former director of Biffa Waste Services said, ‘…we’ve signed up for producing 15% of energy from renewables by 2010. However, at the time the minister couldn’t understand the difference between energy and electricity with the result that once you take cars and gas out of the equation, and transport energy, you’re left with having to find 35% of electrical supply in this country from renewable. That is clearly a massive task when at the moment it’s nearer 6 or 7%...’
Energy policy failure
Peter Ainsworth, former Conservative MP for East Surrey said, ‘…in a very long list of public policy failures over the last 12 - 15 years, the failure in energy policy is perhaps the most serious one of all…what is likely to happen is that energy will become eye wateringly expensive in ways that we simply can’t comprehend, because we will need to import gas…’
Right words, lack of focus
Right Honorable John Gummer, conservative MP, commented on how political parties are saying the right words when it comes to clean technologies, but there is a lock of focus on delivery.
‘…the only successful mechanism in government across departmental operation is the chief secretary. Every year he delivers a government mix which ensures that departments don’t spend money they haven’t got. I want a chief secretary who is responsible for delivering the carbon budget; and he should, in fact, be in the cabinet and have the same powers as the chief secretary of finance…’
Consistent energy policy
Dipesh Shah, board member for companies such as Thames Water, JKX Oil and Gas Plc said, ‘…there are a huge mountain of challenges and I think this is where the opportunity of rebalancing the public and private sectors comes in. Governments have to set the framework and set the consistency in policy, because without that industrial investment it will simply not come through…’
New industry investment
Pamela Castle, Chairma of National Non-Food Crops Centre commented, ‘…to attract investments in new industries, there is a requirement for certainty and clarity. The government has to provide transparent, comprehensible policies and strategies with enough detail for the investor to understand the price; assurances that such detail will be maintained for at least five years, and that standards being properly and consistently enforced across the board…’
‘…there are other very difficult environmental issues that need to be addressed with some urgency, the dwindling of our finite resources, our significantly reduced biodiversity, soil depletion, our acidic and increasingly barren oceans and also general chemical pollution. These all need to be addressed and they all could be catalyst for new green jobs…’
Ultra Green Group Press Release