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Climate change will change business

The Government is asking business to join its response to climate change and enjoy the economic benefits

Just as the last industrial revolution transformed every aspect of people’s lives, so too will this century’s low-carbon revolution. By the middle of this century, every unit of output in the UK economy will have to be produced with just one tenth of the carbon it uses today.

There is for the UK now a powerful environmental imperative to act, but also massive economic opportunities for the future. There is potential for UK companies and skilled workers to lead the way in a global low-carbon and environmental goods and services market now worth £3 trillion

How can we encourage more businesses to invest in energy efficiency?

In today’s tough economic climate, we recognise some businesses may be put off new investment in low-carbon solutions. So, we’re asking companies how government could help.

We’re already committed to leading the way in the public sector. For example, helping schools, health centres and other public bodies to become more energy efficient and as a result, freeing resources for front-line services and saving the British taxpayers money. 

Recent research shows more than a million people in the UK could be employed in the low carbon sector by the middle of the next decade.

Our task is to identify what new skills people will need and how we work with industry to provide them, offering support to people looking to retrain and developing new and existing qualifications.

We need to ensure our existing homes, offices, factories and public buildings use and conserve energy better and that the new buildings we construct are more sustainable and resource-efficient.

Zero-carbon ambition

The Government’s ambition is for every new non-domestic public sector building to be zero carbon by 2018 and we’ve invested £113 million to make hundreds of our schools more energy efficient and around £100 million to reduce the carbon footprint of the NHS.

But this is just the start, with a further £220 million of funding planned to ensure greener buildings across the public sector, delivering savings of at least £1.2 billion on energy bills and securing around 2,250 jobs.

Within the industry, we’re already seeing moves to maximise this new market, with companies like heat specialist Baxi now producing a new micro combined heat and power unit, no bigger than a standard domestic boiler.

As a Government, we want to boost that private sector investment in cost-effective low-carbon initiatives and are supporting a range of projects throughout the supply chain.

We recognise business alone can’t deliver the massive changes we need and Government is committed to providing the strategic leadership necessary.

This is a chance to secure the future of our planet and generate jobs and growth in our economy in the generations ahead. We’ve got to do everything we can together to build our bridges to that low-carbon industrial future.

Lord Mandelson is secretary of state for business

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