Memorandum submitted by the Climate Group
1. THE CLIMATE
The Climate Group, officially launched by Prime
Minister Tony Blair in April 2004, was formed to convene a leadership
group of corporate and governmental organisations committed to
reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the past such "leaders"
have been operating in isolation, without the benefits of effective
networking and collaboration with their peers.
The Climate Group seeks to capture and share
the lessons learned from successful strategies and policies. These
leadership actions demonstrate that GHG reduction is possible
and in many cases profitable. We believe the dissemination of
this knowledge will positively affect the international debate
on addressing climate change.
2. THE UK GOVERNMENT
2.1 The UK as a leader
The world is at a crossroads on climate change.
Whilst progress on international agreements has been slow, many
corporations along with city, state and national governments are
already taking action to meet and exceed what is required of them
under the Kyoto Protocol, often reaping economic and other benefits
as a result. The UK Government is well established amongst this
leadership group, having developed from the framework of a long
term climate change strategy, ambitious goals for renewable energy
and a progressive 60% reduction aspirational target. The result
of this, to date, has been stabilisation of and even reduced greenhouse
gas emissions coupled with sustained economic growth. A unique
window of opportunity now exists for the UK to use this platform
to drive forward a wider political consensus that will leader
to the deeper emissions cuts that the scientific evidence shows
2.2 The Right Moment
Domestic achievements and the development of
private and public sector institutions with considerable expertise
on climate change and emissions reductions have lent the UK authority
on the global stage and positioned the country at the heart of
international negotiations. With upcoming presidential elections
in the US, high expectation that Russia will ratify Kyoto in the
near future and the upcoming start of the EU emissions trading
system the political landscape of emissions reduction is likely
to shift. A short but decisive window of opportunity exists to
drive the policy debate forward. In 2005 the UK takes on the EU
and G8 presidencies and Prime Minister Tony Blair has stated that
climate change will be a top priority. 2005 is also the official
year for launching negotiations on the next commitment period
of the Kyoto Protocol and there is real potential for the UK to
positively influence the outcome.
2.3 A "leadership" alliance to engage
The UK's leverage could be effective in many
areas. Engaging the 15 key countries currently responsible for
two thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions will be crucial.
Germany has also demonstrated its leadership credentials on climate
change and an Anglo/German partnership which works to ensure that
the EU successfully implements its Kyoto commitments, showing
that the current portfolio of policies in the EU produces an innovative
and competitive economy, will provide convincing arguments to
bring these players to the table.
Illustrating the benefits of leadership is a
message that can be taken to governments at all levels (national,
state, regional and city) as well as corporates. Pushing forward
a coalition of the committed, working with organisations such
as the recently formed Climate Group, is a compelling idea. This
approach might be particularly powerful in the area of new technology
development, which has the potential to reengage the US and which
will be a key part of the G8 process. Ultimately, however, this
can only work in of the context bringing into force long term
and internationally binding emissions caps for the world's largest
emitters, based on the scientific guidance given by the IPCC;
this should be the UK's overriding priority for the coming years.
2.4 Continued leadership at home
It is achievements at home which have given
the UK credibility on the international stage and helped to open
this window of opportunity. This will close, however, unless the
UK continues to show leadership through domestic policy and strives
to meet its aspiration of a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050.
Critical steps will include:
Formalising progressive long-term
targets and breaking these down into small, achievable steps applicable
to all sectors of society.
Establishing ambitious goals for
the UK's National Allocation Plan for the 2008-12 period of the
EU emissions trading system.
Engaging with leaders on emissions
reduction from business/local government to learn about the range
of creative and practical solutions which have already been introduced
and the factors surrounding their success (for example, congestion
charging in London, internal emissions trading at BP).
Working with financial institutions
to provide innovative solutions on energy efficiency, new renewable
energy and distributed generation.
Developing a greater awareness of
the scope for emissions reduction beyond traditional sectors such
as energy generationfor example, engaging consumers by
focusing on products and brands.
An effective communications programme
on climate change to capture the imagination of energy users nationwide.
Cultivating support for the climate
change issue both within the government and across opposition
parties so the issue can be dealt with appropriately over a long-term
Together, these domestic actions and international
leadership will position the UK ideally drive forward a framework
that is good for both the climate and the economy and allow UK
businesses to benefit from the opportunities that will arise from
5 October 2004