Friday, 30 January 2009

Greg Barker MP at The Carbon Trust

Speaking in a debate at the Carbon Trust's stakeholders meeting, Greg Barker MP gave a spirited call to arms for the low carbon industry. He posited that with falling energy prices and a lack of finance, we need a radical rethink, as tinkering will never meet the targets.

Obama's administration is performing a policy U turn that will impact the UK. The USA will drive a new business agenda based on cleantech and if we don't respond in a radical and ambitious way we will be stuck in recession. We need greater partnership between the private and public sectors. The government needs to remove the risk and provide seedcorn to create a new paradigm in energy; an "electricity internet". The aim is to remove the burdens that prevent innovation, invest in incubators that will leverage intellectual property and shift taxation to favour low-carbon innovation. The movement will be led by entrepreneurs but the government must enable it.

It's essential not to focus on carbon alone, because a collapse in oil prices will mean we cannot achieve a realistic carbon price. In fact, we need a sophisticated range of instruments offering a choice of levers. The Conservatives are recommending feed-in tariffs, £6.5k to improve the energy efficiency of every single house and a low carbon heat tariff.

In Greg Barker's view, energy efficiency will become an indicator of global competitiveness in the same way as productivity was during the 70s. And cleantech could be the catalyst that will re-energise economies and build nations.

No comments: