Monday, 2 March 2009

Is the UK being left behind in the Cleantech race?

Britain has stated, and repeatedly so, that it will lead the way in developing clean technology. Our Government has promised to “lead the world” on its spending path out of economic slump – but it is failing.

One of the most comprehensive studies of green stimuli been introduced across the globe puts Britain near the bottom of the international trade league. China, for example, has devoted well over a hundred times as much money to recession-beating environmental measures, despite being castigated as an international laggard in tackling pollution.

This sort of information will embarrass Gordon Brown, who has said the UK will spark “a low carbon economy.” And it contradicts his repeated insistence that green measures are "imperative" as a "key driver" of future economic growth. He returned to the theme a couple of days ago in his speech to the Labour Party's National Policy Forum. And a policy document published to complement his address calls for Britain "to lead the world in building the low carbon society with a low carbon economy".

The report (published by HSBC) reveals that Britain has, so far, devoted only $2.1bn (£1.5bn) to a green stimulus, less than a third of France's $7.2bn and less than a sixth of Germany's $13.8bn. China's spending, at $221.3bn, is more than 110 times that of the UK.

This makes no mention of the sudden appearance of the US on the clean tech spending scene. The Administration’s plan of spending $83 billion (out of $787 billion) on clean technology is phenomenal for a country that also only just admitted there is a climate change issue.

My concern is the UK government is all talk and no trousers when it comes to clean technology. We are in danger of being rapidly overtaken by other nations, which in 20 – 30 years time may mean that to implement clean technology we have to import the technology.

Let’s get to the front of this space and become the technology exporter for a change!

Other Articles that may interest you:
America is open for Green Business - next stop Carbon Valley -
Government timetable slip means fossil fuels will trump renewable energy, says CLA -
UK needs to invest billions to secure power-study -

By Steven Rogers
Sector Lead for Carbon & Renewable Energy Engineering

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