In her first major speech on the environmental impacts of climate-change on the energy sector and the UK economy, UK Energy Minister Amber Rudd today spelt out the government’s policy approaches.
This will be to cut, reduce and minimise taxpayer subsidies where prudent to renewable energy projects and technologies, while embracing the need to address climate-change and minimise its possible adverse economic impacts.
In a no-nonsense speech in London, Rudd bluntly dismissed climate-change deniers saying she would ‘not waste time’ debating the science or the facts.
And she warned: “Unchecked climate change is one of the greatest long-term economic risks this country faces. Famously, the Stern report estimated that climate change could mean losing at least 5% of global GDP – and left unchecked that could rise substantially.
“If anything, the climate change risk assessment commissioned by the Foreign Office, and published last week by the University of Cambridge, concludes that we have tended to underestimate the economic risk.
“Climate action is about security, plain and simple – economic security.
“If we don’t act, it will become increasingly hard to maintain our prosperity, protect our people and conserve our countryside. The economic impact of unchecked climate change would be profound.
“The bottom line is this – if we are acting on climate change to preserve our economic prosperity, we have to make sure that climate change action is pro-growth, pro-business.
“That is why our approach will keep the costs of bills down and encourage businesses to innovate, grow and create jobs. If we act in the right way, decarbonisation supports our other priorities. We can create the framework, create the rules, provide the support, predictability and stability needed.
“But that support must help technologies eventually stand on their own two feet, not to encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy.
“The best way to deliver on this is through the way we know the economics will work best, by: –
- Using the markets.
- Using free enterprise and competition to drive down the costs of climate action.
- To develop new technologies, and
- With business recognising the opportunity for growth, and yes profit too, that a clean economy represents.
“Just like our own economy at home, the global low-carbon economy needs to be a profitable economy of enterprise, competition, opportunity and growth. “