Fri, Nov 04, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Low-carbon innovation offers scope for growth

By DAVID CAMPBELL

The social, environmental and financial risks of climate change are well-known.

However, although it is important that we remain focused on tackling these, we must also respond rapidly to the opportunities they present. The transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy is rightly making everyone reconsider the way we generate, transport and consume energy.

While other countries are still deliberating over carbon commitments, the UK has embraced the economy-wide opportunity. Earlier this year, the UK government published a new Carbon Plan setting out what has to happen and by when if the UK is to live up to its green ambitions, meet domestic carbon targets and encourage greater action internationally. This focuses on the jobs and economic opportunities of the low carbon economy and on policies that will help insulate Britain from future energy price shocks.

This Carbon Plan sets out a vision of a changed Britain, powered by cleaner energy used more efficiently in homes and businesses, with more secure energy supplies and more stable energy prices that will benefit from the jobs and growth that a low-carbon economy will bring.

However, as humanity moves toward creating a low-carbon world, we need to look beyond government solutions. The business community will be instrumental in shaping how the new “green” economy operates.

Businesses have the power to implement real, substantive and swift change and to enjoy the benefits of the rise of the green economy. This is particularly important given the global challenge of recovering from the global economic crisis. From software to agriculture and from manufacturing to transport, the UK is already mainstreaming new ways of thinking and new ways of working that seek to make businesses more energy and resource efficient.

Taiwanese business leaders are increasingly seeing climate change as one of their top concerns and businesses are now taking a hard look at their environmental impact. While corporate responsibility is a factor, the economic facts mean that business models cannot afford to ignore the green trend. Globally, the low-carbon and environmental goods and services sector already involves 1.4 million companies and over 28 million employees. The sector continues to grow despite the global downturn, and is forecast to grow by around 4 percent per year over the next five years.

Economies which invest in renewable energy reduce their dependency on imported oil, coal and gas, making them less vulnerable to global shocks.

The UK is an emerging international hub for low-carbon expertise and innovation, helping businesses across the world shift to a low-carbon future through smarter, sustainable solutions, making it an ideal investment location for low-carbon companies wanting to grow their business internationally. In every industry, the UK is demonstrating world-class capabilities in low-carbon, energy and resource efficiency — from the largest offshore wind capacity to cutting-edge marine energy technologies.

With a strong spirit of innovation and entrepreneurialism, the UK is ideally placed to prosper in this new world. Taiwanese companies, too, are developing technologies to help us use resources more efficiently. There is scope for partnership here as the UK and Taiwan both move quickly to low-carbon economies. The transition presents great opportunities to those economies able to seize them.

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