British Prime Minister Backs Renewable Energy

The British government will provide additional funding of £100 million to support renewable energy technologies and to make Britain a leader in the adoption of green power.

LONDON, England – “This investment in renewable technology is a major down-payment in our future, and will help open up huge commercial opportunities for Britain,” says Prime Minister Tony Blair in a speech on the environment. “I want Britain to be a leading player in this coming green industrial revolution.” The global market for environmental goods and services will rise to £440 billion by 2010, and Shell estimates that half the world’s energy needs could be met by renewables by 2050. Wind power is a £1.5 billion industry and, by 2010, the global solar market could be worth £150 billion, he notes. “We have led the way in integrating environmental and economic goals within a liberalised electricity market, and we are leading the thinking in Europe on how to remove the regulatory barriers to development of renewables,” he adds. “I believe the role of Government is to accelerate the development and take up of these new technologies until self-sustaining markets take over.” Britain’s program for incenting renewables will create a new market worth £500 million through various Renewables Obligation, and the government has already announced £100 million to support offshore wind and energy crops. Blair says the new funding will help green groups to reach a target of 100,000 solar PV installations. “The evidence grows daily all around us of the dangers of indifference to our duty to treat nature with respect and care for our environment,” he says. “There is no answer to any of these problems except one based on mutual responsibility.” The case for environmental and sustainable development must be made at every level of society, and he wants Britain to become a showcase for sustainable development and provide international leadership in the area. The Government will pursue a strategy to combat climate change and promote sustainability, with initiatives that include measures to improve the use by business of energy, stimulate investment in green technologies and cut costs. The new Carbon Trust will recycle £100 million of Climate Change Levy receipts to accelerate the take up of cost effective, low carbon technologies, and a domestic emissions trading scheme will start in 2003 with £30 million of financial incentives. Electricity suppliers will be obliged to generate 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010, and the government will also invest £180 billion in a ten-year program to cut emissions from the transport sector. “It is the fate of the human race that as science and prosperity advance, we have the possibility of ever greater global wealth, and the capacity to self- destruct,” he says. “Nuclear weapons proliferation, and environmental degradation are the two threats we face together. Britain on its own cannot do it. But we can set a standard at home; and provide leadership abroad. It is our responsibility and I believe we can discharge it.” “The Kyoto process stands as a monument to enlightened global diplomacy,” he says in reference to the 1997 global treaty under which developing nations will reduce their emission of greenhouse gases. “It represents the first real step down the road of collective action to meet our collective responsibility.” “But the stark truth is that even if all the developed counties met their Kyoto targets, we would only reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent of their 1990 levels by 2008-2012,” he notes. “According to the best climate change models, if we want to halt the process of global warming, we would need to cut global CO2 emissions by 60 percent or more, so Kyoto was only a start.” “If we are actually to halt the process, we need to be much more radical,” he says. “Green technologies are on the verge of becoming one of the next waves in the knowledge economy revolution.”

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