Committee on Climate Change Asks Government for More Green Investment

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According to a recent report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), if the government does not continue to support efforts in creating and improving technology that will deliver renewable electricity, electric cars, and efficient homes then they risk allowing these advancements to fall into a "valley of death." This would mean that products that reduce the use of natural resources such as gas and electricity would never reach the market. 

The CCC report was made in order to show the progress that has been made by green industries in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ironically, this report comes on the heels of the announcement of £34m worth of cuts to projects aimed at developing low-carbon technology in the UK.

The CCC recommended that the United Kingdom protect funding for these green industries in order to continue to reduce carbon emissions. They specifically pointed to offshore wind, carbon capture and storage among the main areas that should be supplemented by government funding. 

"With adequate funding, new policies and strengthened delivery arrangements, we would expect UK firms to take leading roles in the development of key technologies, driving down emissions to meet carbon budgets and targets, and fulfilling the new government's clear objective to build a low-carbon economy. We urge the government to put the appropriate low-carbon technology support arrangements in place to unlock environmental and wider economic benefits," said Professor Julia King, CCC committee member. 

By 2050, the government has promised to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent relative to the 1990 levels. According to the CCC, if the current funding for the development of clean electricity or energy-efficient buildings is cut an estimated £550m per year, then they risk missing the carbon budgets that the UK has set forth. This could also negatively impact any opportunities that might arise in order to build a new green economy at the conclusion of the recession. 

The committee specifically focused on offshore wind because it will cost the least to utilize in order to meet the government's target to source 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. They estimated that in the future wave and tidal energy in the seas could be captured in order to provide power throughout the country. Also of note was the need for the UK's CO2 transportation network to build carbon capture and storage for power plants. This could reduce carbon emissions by up to 90 percent by simply storing the gas underground. 

They estimated that the government must invest up to £800m in order to meet their target of 1.7m electric vehicles on the road by 2020. The CCC stated that the government needs protect the £230m initiative for electric cars and £30m for a national battery charging network. They concluded by pushing for government support for aviation. They pointed to the need for the development of advanced wings and engines. Also noted was the need for radical new technologies that could help reduce the industry's carbon emissions.

"We welcome the recognition of the need for continued and expanded funding for wise, focused and output-driven low-carbon innovation. Good innovation that leverages private sector investment, and focuses on UK benefit is a must. It will deliver significant economic opportunity for the UK as well as helping us meet our short and long term carbon targets," said Tom Delay, the chief executive of the Carbon Trust.

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