Give us a post-Covid green recovery, urges CBI boss

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is urging the government to create new green jobs to boost productivity after the pandemic.

Chef Dame Carolyn Fairbairn will say the UK must become a global leader on climate action at a virtual conference.

She will say that the next budget should invest in low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

A government spokesperson said the prime minister was “determined to tackle climate change”.

Dame Carolyn will open the industry body’s first virtual conference on zero emission plans.

This is a far cry from the past when the CBI used to warn that tackling climate change could destroy jobs.

For several years, the group has been promoting the opposite message: targeted support for clean technologies can indeed create jobs.

The Prime Minister and some of his colleagues have spoken of the need for a “green” recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

But Dame Carolyn says actions must now back up those promises.

She is expected to say, “To many this looks like a period of fiercely competing goals. The world faces two seemingly distinct but fundamental issues – Covid-19, the biggest health crisis in living memory, and climate change – the defining challenge of the modern era.

“But they are not separate. The response to one affects the success of the other. And the defining question is: how is the UK using this moment to rebuild our economy? ”

She says businesses urgently need the government to release a large number of policy documents.

This includes a plan to reduce long-term carbon emissions – as well as the White Paper on Energy, the National Infrastructure Strategy and plans for decarbonising transport, heat and buildings.

She will urge the UK to take a strong international leadership: “Together, business and government can lay the foundations for a strong and sustainable future.

“Not just for the UK, but thanks to our global leadership, beyond our shores as well… a to-do list for this generation to make the world a better place for the next. ”

The CBI’s ‘Green Recovery Roadmap’ sets out six priorities, including:

  • Accelerate the delivery of charging stations for electric vehicles and finance the manufacture of batteries
  • Lift the auction ceiling for renewable energies and introduce a financing model for new nuclear capacities
  • Become a leader in carbon capture, use and storage technologies
  • Spend at least £ 1 billion to test hydrogen programs and encourage hydrogen production

The CBI also wants £ 500million in public funds to support the UK’s first commercial sustainable fuel plant.

A government spokesperson told BBC News: ‘The Prime Minister has pledged to tackle climate change and to rebuild greener, and set out his vision that the UK should have the environmental agenda the most ambitious of all countries in the world. ”

They said ministers had earmarked billions of dollars to support a low-carbon economy.

Many policies were underway, they continued, with consultations on ending coal power and phasing out new gasoline and diesel cars, supporting renewable energy projects across the UK and the announcement of over £ 3 billion to transform the energy efficiency of UK homes and public buildings.

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

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