Carbon focused eco-businesses risk wasted opportunities
by David Masters
July 10, 2009
The government’s narrow focus on reducing carbon emissions could cause Britain to miss out on becoming a world leader in environmental commerce, an industry body has warned.
A report published this week by the Environmental Industries Commission outlines how UK industry can best take advantage of the £3 trillion global market for low-carbon goods and services.
EIC policy director Danny Stevens said the government’s narrow vision for eco-friendly business “risks putting the UK at competitive disadvantage by ignoring other key environmental technologies”.
He added: “Climate change is by no means the only important environmental issue, and low-carbon is by no means the only important aspect of developing a green economy.
“There is a danger that the emphasis on low carbon will obscure other environmental and sustainability issues – forfeiting the huge economic opportunities that will be created by developing technologies to tackle waste, water and air pollution.”
The government should broaden its focus beyond low carbon technologies and renewable energy to consider waste management, water pollution control, and land remediation, the EIC said.
“There is no doubt that climate change is top of the political agenda but there is a danger that other opportunities can be overlooked if too great an emphasis is placed there,” said EIC chairman Adrian Wilkes.
“For example, China is likely to spend billions in the coming years on alleviating the pollution of its rivers.”
Stevens added: “The UK’s future competitiveness depends on establishing a world-leading environmental industry, with thousands of new business, hundreds of thousands of new jobs and huge export potential.
“The Government needs to be serious about ensuring the UK’s environmental industry wins the lions’ share of future global markets – otherwise Britain will miss out and allow our international competitors to seize these huge new markets.”
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