The chief executive of environmental think-tank ESG has thrown his weight behind calls for energy efficiency to be recognised as a national infrastructure priority in light of agreements made at COP21.
Speaking this morning at an event hosted by IPPR on the implications of international agreements made in Paris, Nick Mabey claimed current policy was holding back the UK’s ability to meet its targets.
“We all know energy policy is a mess. We all know the disconnect between energy and climate policy has scared off investors, whether you look at the EY report or the parliamentary inquiry into investor confidence. That is a real problem, you can’t build globally successful industries on a failing low carbon economy at home,” he said.
Sat next to Jerome Glass, deputy director of strategy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change during a panel discussion, Mabey went on to claim the UK needed to shift its perspective to a more positive mindset.
“In this country we talk too little about the transformation and the innovation, which is what other countries talk about, and too much about constraints and blackouts and budgets. We need to reframe that debate and get away from tonnes of carbon.”
Reiterating comments he made in January, Mabey added: “Let’s make energy efficiency an infrastructure priority, it is the best value infrastructure investment we could make. The Scots have decided to do it, the G20 is discussing it – England should do it.”
Scottish parliament climate change minister Aileen McLeod announced in June last year that improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes and non-domestic building stock will be designated a National Infrastructure Priority. This has been followed by the launch of an efficiency fund open to both public sector buildings and businesses.
Mabey comments follow calls from several trade bodies and organisations for Westminster to follow suit. The Aldersgate Group urged for the government to make the decision in a report back in July last year, while Labour pledged to do make the commitment in its manifesto for last year’s general election.