Watch the Energy Opportunity Conference highlights
The race to net-zero is on, and the public demand for action on climate change is clear right across the country. But delivering the next stage of emissions reduction through the 2020s will require coordinated action across society, business and the government.
With a history of having been the powerhouse for the rest of the country, the North once again has the capabilities to respond to a monumental challenge: to transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
Last month, the CBI’s Energy Opportunity Conference brought businesses from across the Northern powerhouse to discuss just that at the Newcastle Helix, a flagship sustainable development in the heart of the city. This is the latest event in our ongoing campaign to power the UK’s low-carbon future and provided a space for members to feed into this critical issue.
Business knows that achieving a net-zero target will require a whole host of interlinked elements: huge expansion of renewable and low-carbon power; mass uptake of electric cars; smarter buildings using low-carbon sources of heating; and using nature and technology to capture carbon. And though the CBI will continue to lobby on behalf of members to generate progressive policy changes that supply greener and cleaner products and services, a low-carbon future also requires changes in behaviour - from people and businesses in all regions - to drive the demand for environmentally conscious alternatives.
The North has many of the foundations to build on and seize the energy opportunity in all its forms, and the conference highlighted three key takeaways:
- The government must prioritise and commit to infrastructure investment in the North. This investment must be underpinned by a long-term strategy that gives business the clarity and confidence to make long term investment decisions in a net-zero environment.
- Unlocking regional growth through devolution must also include how regions can decarbonise and Local Industrial Strategies must be used to highlight these opportunities.
- The net-zero transition must put people at its core, enabling vulnerable consumers to access cleaner products and services, and workers in transitioning industries to retrain and upskill to take advantage of the unprecedented employment opportunities from the green economy.
It is important that we view the transition as an opportunity for the UK. Society stands to benefit from cleaner technology that can both improve our environment, and at the same time reduce the risks associated with a changing climate. There is an economic case too. As the country continues to debate the nature of its place in a changing world, UK business can be sure that becoming a leader in the technologies of the future is one way to enable a prosperous future.
Find out more about the CBI’s ongoing campaign to power the UK’s low-carbon future.