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UK low-carbon projects at risk, says CBI

The CBI says the British Government could fail to achieve carbon emission reduction targets if action is not taken swiftly

By Isabella Kaminski

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has released its latest Climate Change Tracker, which shows that only one of the UK’s 13 indicators is on track, and that progress on de-carbonising buildings, transport and industry is lagging.

The industry lobbying body has warned that investor confidence remains low, even though the UK government has provided more clarity on Climate Change Agreements and funding for the Green Investment Bank.

The CBI has highlighted the damage to business confidence caused by unexpected changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme, feed-in tariffs and the North Sea oil and gas tax. It adds that uncertainty still surrounds a number of major policies, including electricity market reform, funding for carbon capture and storage (CCS), the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme and consumer grants for low-carbon vehicles.

The Pew Environment Group’s Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2010 report showed the UK falling from fifth to 13th place in global low-carbon investment rankings.

Katja Hall, Chief Policy Director of the CBI , says: “Progress is failing to match the government’s ambition. Business confidence has clearly been bruised by sudden and unexpected policy shifts on the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the oil and gas tax hike and feed-in tariffs.

“The carbon floor price and CRC have been dressed up as helping achieve carbon targets but they risk becoming little more than revenue raisers for the treasury. Meanwhile, there is also genuine concern about how the Green Deal and electricity market reform will work.”

Over the next six months, the CBI will call on the government to publish the electricity market reform white paper by July, providing greater clarity on the transitional arrangements for renewable energy, to make a decision on the winner of the first CCS demonstration plant and to confirm the future funding arrangements for CCS, the RHI and the consumer grant for low-carbon vehicles, among other measures.

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