OPINION
02/11/2019 00:01 GMT

The Strongest Economies Of The Future Will Be Those Stepping Up To Climate Change

The world has rightly come a long way since climate concerns were a fringe issue, Chancellor Sajid Javid writes.

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Sajid Javid

The UK is leading the world in the fight against climate change, as the first major economy to legislate for Net Zero emissions by 2050. That means that together, we’re committed to ending our contribution to global warming within a generation. 

This is an ambitious target, but it’s the right one, as recommended by the independent experts on the Committee on Climate Change. And not just for the planet, but for our economy. We’re acting now to ensure the UK remains a fantastic place to live, work and do business – today, tomorrow and for future generations.

As Chancellor, I’m determined to turn this ambition into reality. Our record is good. We’ve quadrupled renewable energy supply since 2010, which now meets a third of UK electricity generation. We’ve also installed energy efficiency measures in 2 million homes, reducing carbon and saving £800m from household bills. And we’ve invested nearly £1.5bn to support the uptake of electric vehicles. Because it is new technology that will help get us over the finish line to a zero-carbon society.

But we know that the hard work isn’t over. I’m clear that it’s not just what we deliver, but how that matters. Net Zero needs to happen in a way that makes us stronger and works for all, shielding the least well-off, and ensuring a fair balance of costs for the businesses and households that will benefit. 

That’s why today, I am launching the world’s first review of its kind to build the road map for this transition. This work will help us deliver our commitment in a way that maximises opportunities for our economy.

This must be at the heart of our infrastructure revolution, delivering greener transport, cleaner renewable energy and more efficient homes and businesses. This is how we will create a better connected, more productive, more competitive UK. 

Delivering all that means investing to make it happen. As Chancellor, my first Budget will the greenest ever. And if we win this election on December 12 the Conservatives are determined to lead the fight for our environment – taking on single use plastics and putting our world-leading Environment Bill into law. 

Crucially, this national commitment isn’t just about doing good. It makes economic sense. Take offshore wind for example. We lead the world in this green technology, attracting international investment, bringing skilled jobs in design and manufacturing and have cut costs dramatically, to compete with carbon-intensive alternatives like coal and gas.

The Treasury has a proud record on these issues. In 2006, Lord Nicholas Stern, led the first-ever comprehensive study into the economics of climate change. This work placed a financial value on preserving the planet for the first time and has become a cornerstone of green thinking around the world ever since. And now, our 120-year old Treasury building in Whitehall runs on 100% renewable electricity.

The world has rightly come a long way since climate concerns were a fringe issue. I firmly believe that the strongest, most competitive economies of the future will be those that have stepped up to this issue.

This is Britain on the front foot. Leading the next industrial revolution as we did the last. As we prepare to host the UN climate conference in Glasgow in November next year, the eyes of the world will be on us. And yet again we will lead by example, setting a path into a greener, more prosperous future. A future for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

That important work starts today.

Sajid Javid is Chancellor of the Exchequer and Conservative MP for Bromsgrove.