UK assailed for climate policy delays

Business leaders in the United Kingdom say that government ministers are not doing enough to cut greenhouse-gas emissions or ensure that the country does not run out of power, the Guardian reported. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also warned that, without “urgent action”, investment in green technology would move to the United States or China.


The CBI’s reaction comes amid widespread disappointment that the Group of 20 (G20) heads of state failed last week to come up with any solid environmental initiatives as part of a US$1.1 trillion aid package for the global economy.


The business leaders’ warning follows a series of announcements by major energy companies, including Shell, BP and Centrica, that they would stop or reconsider investment in “low carbon” energy such as wind and solar power and carbon capture for coal-fired power stations.


“Politics and policy”, not the recession, were delaying investment in the country, according to Richard Lambert, the CBI’s director general. The UK government needs “to get on with it,” said Lambert, ahead of Monday’s launch of a new strategy for the energy industry. “If we’re going to go to where we want to get to by 2020, we need to be moving pretty aggressively on policy.”


The CBI seeks a range of actions, including clear planning guidance to fast-track investment in offshore wind farms and nuclear power stations and an upgraded national grid.

More than three-quarters of Britain’s green-energy companies are facing major financial difficulties in gaining access to loans and investment money, according to a survey by the Renewable Energy Association. “Given all the rhetoric on the Green New Deal and green tech, it is astonishing that the renewables industry has received no dedicated support — even in areas that don’t cost extra money,” said Philip Wolfe, the group’s director general.


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