"Direct government intervention may sometimes be necessary to protect consumers as the markets catch up"by Claire Perry / November 13, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
In October I flicked a virtual switch on a tablet and transformed the iconic London Eye from its usual red to green. This marked the start of the inaugural Green GB Week, which also coincided with the European launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report warning of the urgent need to hold global temperatures below 1.5C. It formed a stark reminder of the huge challenges we face.
But businesses, public bodies, academics and entrepreneurs have a once in a generation opportunity. As part of Green GB Week, John Lewis committed to turning its 500-strong delivery fleet over to cleaner bio-fuels, while HSBC announced £250m of investment in solar parks and wind farms. Thirty other companies participated. These are not hair shirt measures, but commercial decisions to embrace growth opportunities and operational savings, as part of a cleaner future.
Ten years on from the Climate Change Act, Britain’s power sector was entirely coal free for more than two months and the UK’s carbon footprint is now the smallest it has been since the industrial revolution.
As well as powering past coal, we have also driven down the cost of clean energy. Twenty years ago, we had no offshore wind generation. Since then, government support and industry innovation has made it economically viable. The sector now has tens of thousands of employees.
As we move from the old models to the new, direct government intervention may sometimes be necessary to protect consumers as the markets catch up. We need to guarantee a fair, s…