David Cameron today unveiled an energy blueprint to drive home his ambitions for a low carbon economy.
And the Carbon Plan sets a series of deadlines which the government believes will put the green economy at the top the agenda both in Westminster and the boardrooms of big business.
These include milestones for the Green Investment Bank, a carbon floor price and electric vehicles.
As ELN reported yesterday, the Prime Minister is disappointed that his pledge to lead “the greenest government ever” is not being fully backed by some of his ministers and their departments.
The Carbon Plan will now set strict actions and deadlines for Whitehall which in turn are intended to meet tough domestic energy targets and encourage greater action internationally. It is focused on the jobs and economic opportunities of the low carbon economy and on policies that will help insulate Britain from future energy price shocks.
The Carbon Plan is published in draft form today, with the government inviting the public and organisations to give their views on its contents. A final version will be published in the Autumn and then updated annually.
The draft plan highlights three key changes that will be required across the UK economy: in the way electricity is generated, with an emphasis on a move away from fossil fuels; in the way homes and businesses are heated, where the government wants to see a boost in new insulation and the use of heat pumps; and in the way people travel, meaning better public transport, a cut in petrol and diesel emissions and a push towards electric vehicles.
Internationally, the plan sets out how the UK will work within the European Union and with other countries to promote action on climate change, support developing countries to limit emissions and adapt to climate change, and seek further progress towards a global climate change agreement.
But it is the deadlines set out in the document that will perhaps be of most interest to those in the energy industry and potential investors. Foremost of these is the creation of a carbon floor price by next month and DECC to award the contract for the first UK Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration by the end of this year.
And Vince Cable’s Department for Business is to get the Green Investment Bank up and running by September 2012, with the first annual data released on the funds in, and the size of investments, made by the bank by May 2013.
Other deadlines are for the Department for Transport to develop a nationwide strategy for the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure by June; DECC to lead in reducing central government’s emissions by 10% by May; and Defra to launch a pilot project to develop and trial methods for delivering integrated environmental advice for farmers by June 2012.
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