Assisting China on low carbon development should be at the heart of government plans to tackle climate change and secure high-value business opportunities for UK firms, a report by MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee argues.
“By demonstrating low carbon leadership at home, the UK could punch well above its weight in encouraging major emitters like China towards low-carbon development, but only if ministers can come up with a more focused strategy,” said committee chairman Tim Yeo.
The People’s Republic of China is the fastest growing economy in the world and by 2030 could account for half of the world’s CO2 emissions. It has recently set out plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy, boost green energy, draft a new climate law and introduce carbon trading.
The report says that this is the ideal time for the UK to work together with China to encourage future international agreement on climate change and to secure potential opportunities for British businesses in China’s development of low carbon technologies, which it says is worth around £430bn.
The report warns that the government’s work in China suffers from a lack of strategic direction, with too many small projects, focused on too many different areas, rather than a coordinated effort to achieve key objectives. The UK Government should focus instead on a smaller number of strategic interventions that are tailored to appeal to Chinese priorities and which build on UK strengths, it says.