The UK on March 31st kick-started a renewed push for a global climate deal as the British Prime Minister co-chairs the most significant climate meeting since Copenhagen.
The UN Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance held in Downing Street, involved four heads of government, two finance ministers, Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser Larry Summers, and other key figures such as George Soros and Nick Stern. The group is looking at how the world will deliver on its commitment to provide $100 billion of public and private finance a year by 2020.
The British Government has also outlined more support for the UK’s own low carbon transition with funding for renewables development and a consultation to ensure workers and businesses are prepared to take advantage of the growing need for green skills.
The British Government is also setting out its plans to breathe new life into efforts to get a legally binding global treaty.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said, “We’ve got to dust ourselves down and kick-start efforts to get a global deal, get the climate finance flowing and make sure the cuts promised by countries happen.
Miliband added, “We need to do this, not just for environmental reasons, but also for economic ones. In the UK, strategic intervention by the Government is unlocking green investment and generating jobs for the future. Low carbon growth will be stronger, and businesses will have greater certainty, when the world agrees to a legally binding deal.”
The announcements include:
A new action plan on international climate change (‘Beyond Copenhagen: The UK Government’s International Climate Change Action Plan) which shows what must be done to build on the progress made at Copenhagen. The plan sets out the British Government’s belief that the low carbon transformation can be a major driver of economic growth and job creation – in the UK, in Europe and globally. In it the UK Government makes clear that:
It wants to build on the strengths of the Kyoto Protocol, and is open to extending that agreement as a way of getting the legal deal needed.
It is in favor of strengthening the UN decision making process that was so frustrating at Copenhagen.
It is pushing for the EU to increase its plans to cut emissions in line with comparable moves elsewhere, which is why we are supporting the European Commission’s work to identify the practical steps that would be required to implement a 30% target.
The Action Plan builds on the Copenhagen Accord, in which countries have put forward actions that, if delivered in full, would see global emissions peak before 2020, a key step towards achieving our 2 degrees goal.
A consultation on a new low carbon skills strategy which includes co-funding the delivery of up to 2,500 apprenticeships in the emerging wind energy sector, in line with the sector’s ambition for the size of its workforce in 2017. The joint consultation document produced with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills sets out what we know about the scale and nature of the low-carbon skills challenge, what we’re already doing to tackle it, and seeks views on what more needs to happen.
This follows the Government’s commitment to co-fund the delivery of up to 1,000 apprenticeships per year in the nuclear energy sector in the light of a report by Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for Nuclear Energy.
Further Education and Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said, "One year on from our New Industry New Jobs commitment to drive growth in new sectors, we are continuing to invest in the skills and markets that are so vital to the UK's economy: especially low carbon.
"This is why we are talking to employers to understand their needs and why, with them, we are co-funding 2,500 apprenticeships in wind energy.
"We have listened to specialists and to the public and we will continue to listen through today's consultation on low carbon skills. We remain, as ever, dedicated to a low-carbon economy and to giving people the chance to get into a new career in a new industries."
Further measures to support the development of the renewables industry in the UK. This includes £4 million as part of a landmark partnership between DECC, Ministry of Defence, The Crown Estate and four wind farm developers, to fund a new radar for the Greater Wash that will address interference that can be associated with older types of radar.
This will allow the construction of one wind farm (Sheringham Shoal) and remove one of the barriers in considering the consent applications of other wind farms, as well as potentially a further 4-6GW offshore wind under Round 3 of the Crown Estate’s leasing for offshore wind development. A grant of £750,000 is also awarded for test facilities for micro wind turbines.
Last week Siemens, Mitsubishi and General Electric decided to locate manufacturing facilities in the UK, confirming the UK as the world’s top destination for offshore wind energy investment. This followed the Budget announcement of £60 million to develop sites close to ports suitable for turbine manufacturing, and the new £2 billion Green Investment Bank. Strategic intervention by the Government is unlocking this investment, generating a new industrial sector in the UK that could employ a high skilled workforce of 70,000 by 2020.
Government has also today became the first in the world to publish plans that will set out how every major department will address the challenge of climate change in the UK. The Carbon Reduction Delivery and Adaptation Plans detail each department’s commitment to minimise the damage of climate change, by reducing emissions and by preparing for inevitable change in the UK climate.
Sources and credit:
1. ‘Beyond Copenhagen: The UK Government’s International Climate Change Action Plan’ is available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk
2. The joint DECC and BIS skills consultation document - Skills for a Low Carbon and Resource Efficient Economy – is available at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/low_carb_skill/low_carb_skill.aspx
Within this the Government has committed to:
• Co-fund the delivery of up to 1,000 apprenticeships per year to support decommissioning and new-build in the nuclear energy sector;
• Co-fund the delivery of up to 2,500 apprenticeships in the emerging wind energy sector, in line with the sector’s ambition for the size of its workforce in 2017.
3. The support for apprentices is subject to employers coming forward with Apprenticeship places in sufficient numbers, and are part of our plans to deliver an additional 35,000 advanced and higher Apprenticeships to young adults aged 19 to 30 over 2 years from September 2010.
4. Cogent’s report – also published on March 31 – outlines for the first time the employment opportunities that new nuclear reactors could bring, helping to build a clear picture of skills requirements in the sector.The report Next Generation – Skills for New Build Nuclear – is available at http://www.cogent-ssc.com/research/nuclearresearch.php
The £4.75 million for renewables development includes:
£750k for TUV NEL (a leading international technology services organization). This includes £550,000 to develop 10 new test pads at the Myres Hill test site for public use by industry, certification and test organisations and £200,000 to carry out a research and development project which will examine how the testing process for micro wind turbines can be applied more efficiently with cost reductions, without taking away from the robustness of the MCS standards.
£4 million contributes to funding a Lockheed Martin TPS-77 air defense radar for installation at RAF Trimingham. The Crown Estate and several wind farm developers are also contributing to funding the new radar. The radar will remove military radar obstacles to the construction of 3.2GW of offshore wind in the Greater Wash and potentially a future 4-6GW in the Norfolk Round 3 zone. The project will deal with concerns on impacts on the existing air defense radar at RAF Trimingham.
5. ‘Climate Change: Taking Action – Delivering the Low Carbon Transition Plan and preparing for a changing climate’ can be downloaded at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/programme/across-government.htm or http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/lc_uk/carbon_budgets/departments/departments.aspx
6. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change. DECC is pushing hard internationally for ambitious effective and fair action to avert the most dangerous impacts. Through the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, DECC is giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, DECC is enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and DECC is stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.
Defra also published a supplement which looks at the impact climate change will have on British natural resources and the services the citizens get from them; and seeks to stimulate debate about how people should approach adaptation to climate change in the natural environment.
- Climate Change: Taking Action (PDF 8 MB)