Home Business News CBI warns of the ‘deafening silence from all the parties about the issues of climate change’

CBI warns of the ‘deafening silence from all the parties about the issues of climate change’

by LLB political Reporter
1st Jul 24 11:28 am

In a speech today the chief executive of the business organisation the CBI will warn of the risks of trying to “separate the economy from net zero” and tell whoever forms the next Government they “can’t be pro-growth and deliver for our people and communities, without being pro-green.”

As the election campaign enters its final days, Rain-Newton Smith, CBI CEO, will highlight the “deafening silence from all the parties about the issues of climate change, about biodiversity loss, net zero and our planet” in contrast to what she will set out as the “consensus case from business” for net zero as a growth opportunity.

Drawing on analysis from CBI Economics, which found that the UK’s net zero sector grew by 9% in 2023, a year when the UK economy fell into technical recession, Newton-Smith will highlight the “the cost of falling behind in the global race for cheaper, more reliable, more efficient energy. The huge emerging markets for new technologies.”

With the CBI’s Going for Green report revealing that the next government could add as much as £57bn to the economy from green growth by 2030, Newton-Smith will call on both the main parties to commit to delivering five steps to achieving green growth.

Five steps to recharge the economy:

  1. Make net zero part of a revitalised pitch for brand Britain

“The next government… [has] got to be loud and proud in making green growth part of a new investor pitch for brand Britain. No more prevarication, no more rowed back commitments. Whoever forms the next government has to let the world know it’s serious about the investment opportunities from net zero and that we’re in this for the long-haul. Make decisions and stick to them.”

“Whether it’s continuing with the ‘five growth sector’ strategy, or part of a new plan for sustainable growth, the next Chancellor must set out our national stall.”

  1. Create an Office for Net Zero to coordinate across Whitehall departments

“Business wants to see a new Office for Net Zero Delivery, to coordinate and take a truly strategic approach. Based in the Cabinet Office, it should embed net zero in our economic strategy and coordinate between departments.”

  1. Create a Net Zero Investment Plan

“The way we really outmanoeuvre our competitors… is using public spending to crowd in private spending. So, what business want to see from the next government, is a Net Zero Investment Plan.”

  1. Transformational tech

“Tech is at the heart of reaching net zero, and there is huge first-mover advantage for those who can get ahead…. But there’s more the next government can do to… help big ideas scale up to big business, like a new Green Innovation Credit to unlock private R&D or lowering corporation tax on green tech profits”

  1. Back rapid grid growth, knock-out nimbyism

“Recent attempts to expand and upgrade it (the grid) have run up against nimbyism. This matters… Tens of billions of pounds of net zero investment – and the future attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest – hinge on the grid. So… the next government must back rapid grid upgrades and work in partnership with business – to get them done. Without that, there’s no net zero, no green growth.”

On the risks of inaction, Rain Newton-Smith will warn, “It’s a dangerous error to try and separate it (the economy) from net zero. There is still too much in our political discourse that amounts to – ‘can we afford to go for net zero?’ But the real question is – can we afford not to?”

“The cost of inaction the OBR has set out… the hit to our GDP will be five times higher if we don’t act, than if we act early. But there is another cost on top of all that – the cost of falling behind in the global race for cheaper, more reliable, more efficient energy. The huge emerging markets for new technologies.”

On the need for a whole economy approach, Rain Newton-Smith will say:

“With input and knowhow from every sector, we feed into government how it can fine-tune our economic performance, supercharge our strengths and help the UK get ahead of the competition and win in the race for green growth.

“And I’m honoured and genuinely delighted to share that, we have four more great globally listed companies joining us in that journey, as members: JLL, Schroders, Phoenix Group, and Smith & Nephew.”

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