Cautious welcome for Prime Minister’s green speech

Green economy

Environmental experts have given Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on Monday, when he reiterated his commitment to a green economy, a cautious welcome. The PM, who has come under some criticism for failing to follow up on his promise to make “this the greenest government ever” gave a short speech at the launch of the Energy Efficiency Mission at the Royal Society in London, where he underlined the Government’s commitment to energy efficiency and said that only the greenest and most energy efficient countries would win the global race.

He said: “My argument today is not just about doing what is right for our planet, but doing what is right for our economy too. Because make no mistake we are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race, the economies in Europe that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.”

In 2011 a report produced by WWF, environmental think tank Green Alliance, Greenpeace, RSPB and Christian Aid: Climate Check, An analysis of the government’s delivery of its low carbon commitments revealed that the Government had made either moderate or no progress on 22 of its 29 low-carbon commitments. Much of this failure has been laid at the feet of Chancellor George Osborne who spoke of fiscal sustainability as being a more important issue, while Cameron was noted for steering away from significant statements on sustainability, despite his earlier promises .

Following Cameron’s long overdue speech on the environment, Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance wrote on twitter: “PM stitching carbon and economy narrative back together after damage caused by chancellor,” He added: “PM shows some overdue love for green economy – he will have to sleep on sofa until his intentions are clear.”

John Alker, Director of Policy and Communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the PM nailing his colours to the mast on energy efficiency, which is hugely welcome. It gives industry more confidence that the Government does take this issue seriously, which is urgently needed if businesses are going to invest and innovate. Now Cameron needs to stand up to those in Government who simply don’t “get it” and follow up the rhetoric with delivery.”

The CBI welcomed Cameron’s argument on the value to British business of a green economy. Rhian Kelly, CBI Director for Business Environment policy, said: “Businesses know that going green can boost growth. Our research shows that supporting the UK’s low-carbon economy with the right policies could potentially add £20bn to GDP by 2015.

“Britain must maximise these opportunities to become the leading destination for low-carbon investment and strengthen our exports of green goods and services to the rest of the world.”