Key findings of a new report by The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have shown that the UK’s transition to a greener economy is worth £71bn and has brought jobs and investment to parts of the country experiencing an industrial decline.
The drive to reach net zero emissions involves more than 20,000 businesses, and 840,000 jobs are linked to sectors ranging from renewable energy to waste management, the report shows.
Released this week, the report looked at the parts of the UK that have benefited most from policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and found that Scotland and English regions, such as Tyneside, Teeside, Merseyside and the Humber, had all done better than average, with the green economy being stronger and contributing more to growth than in London and the South East.
The report also showed that green jobs pay significantly more, with the average wage (£42,600) significantly above the national average (£33,400).
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“The net zero economies is addressing levelling up and the UK’s productivity problem,” says Peter Chalkley, the director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) who commissioned the research. “But if the UK doesn’t build on the good work that has already been done, we will lose out and lose jobs.”
The UK has long been seen as a leader in green technology, in particular offshore wind, but this position is at risk.
“Other places (in the world) are really setting out their stalls for how they’re going to capture that investment,” says Tom Thackeray from the CBI who carried out the analysis, adding that there is now a “global competition” for green funding.
Analysts have said the signing into law of landmark legislation in the United States called the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has changed the global dynamic for green investment as it puts aside $369bn (£297bn) for activities related to tackling climate change and many companies now see America as the best destination for their money.
“There’s an excitement [about the US since the IRA], so the challenge for us is to reignite the excitement back in the UK,” says Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, a public body that advises the UK government on its green policies.
The view that the UK is losing momentum was also in Tory MP Chris Skidmore’s Mission Zero report last month in which he said the UK was falling behind in the net zero race. Restrictive planning regulations for onshore wind and solar, and a lack of consistency in policy were among many issues Mr Skidmore cited as holding back investment from the private sector.
Story was adapted from the BBC.