The UK sustainable business alliance, whose members also include WWF, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental groups, NGOs and trade unions, sent a letter to Chancellor George Osborne on the day of his speech to the Conservative Party conference.
Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties backed a 2030 carbon target for the power sector at their party conferences. But “policy uncertainty” from the Conservative Party is costing the economy “billions of pounds of overdue investment,” Alderstate Group chairman Peter Young said.
The letter’s 51 signatories urged the government to legislate carbon limits for the power sector in the next draft of the Energy Bill.
Earlier this year, the UK released its draft Energy Bill, which is expected to encourage £110 billion ($172 billion) investment in low-carbon power generation. The bill has an emissions cap for power plants, and a backup mechanism for gaps in intermittent renewables generation.
The letter warns that the UK’s economic growth will be determined by the country’s response to climate change and energy security.
“Failure to act at sufficient scale and pace will undermine our prosperity and cause us to miss out on the huge commercial opportunities associated with the global shift to a low carbon, resource efficient economy,” it says.
The letter cites the Committee on Climate Change’s warning to the government that extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity in 2030 and beyond is incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets. It says that current policy uncertainty could result in the UK losing almost £400 million ($642 million) in net exports in 2014/15 alone.
A third of the UK’s economic growth in 2011/12 is likely to have come from green businesses, it says.