Pathways to a low carbon economy

Pathways to a low carbon economy. The business response to climate change / Andy Gouldson,  Helen Harwatt, Niall Kerr, Louise Ellis. Centre for Low Carbon Futures, July 2011, 16 p. (policy briefing paper)

About the report (© Katherine Robinson) :

Analysis of the survey responses presents a mixed picture of results. On  the positive side businesses have faith in climate science, are highly aware of the options for reducing energy use and carbon footprints and are confident in the economic opportunities for doing so. However, business confidence in government targets for 2020 and 2050 is low, there is restricted access to capital and management time and opportunities for knowledge sharing between industry sectors are poorly developed.

The authors show that while prospects for incremental change are good, the prospects for the radical change needed to transition to an energy efficient, energy secure, low carbon economy are much lower.  The study concludes by making a number of policy recommendations, which the authors argue need not necessarily be delivered by Government, rather they could play a critical enabling role, encouraging private and civil stakeholders to contribute more fully to the transition.

In summary the key policy recommendations are:

– to strengthen the credibility of the 2020 and 2050 UK emissions reductions targets providing businesses with clarity and certainty, which could help, unlock investment.

– to create an enabling policy framework not only through regulation and incentives but also through capacity building and the strengthening of learning networks.

– to create and communicate visions of radically de-carbonised business showing what can be done by different sectors and sizes of organisation to build confidence and commitment.

– to help ensure the leaders can go further and faster without being held back by the followers.

– to take steps to ensure that energy and carbon management are integral aspects of strategic as well as operational decision making in business.

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