Meeting carbon budgets will increase UK GDP and jobs, report finds

11th September 2014

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The UK will experience a 1.1% increase in GDP and create an extra 190,000 jobs by 2030 if it meets its first four carbon budgets, according to a report by consultants Cambridge Econometrics.

The report, commissioned by campaign group WWF-UK, is an assessment of the macroeconomic costs and benefits that could result from the UK putting in place the measures needed to meet emissions reductions proposed by the government’s independent advisory body, the committee on climate change.

Changes to the UK’s energy system will result in slightly higher costs but they will also alter the structure of the economy, which will produce net benefits, the study found.

It says there will be an annual increase in low-carbon investment of around £20 billion by 2030. The analysts forecast that energy-intensive firms will increase their output by 1.9% by 2030 due to extra work providing components needed for low-carbon energy and transport systems. Although this shift to low-carbon transportation will reduce the amount of petrol and diesel consumed in the UK, Cambridge Econometrics says revenue from auctioning EU emissions trading scheme allowances and from the carbon price support mechanism will offset around 75% of the tax revenue that will be lost. This revenue, coupled with the forecast growth in the economy, will result in a net increase in annual government income of £5.7 billion by 2030.

In addition, the report outlines how meeting the carbon budgets would create health benefits and cut healthcare spending. The reduction in emissions of particulates from road transport is estimated to reduce gross healthcare spending by between £96-£288 million a year by 2030.

Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environmental policy at University College London, said: “This report reflects a robust piece of work carried out by some of the UK’s best macro-economic modellers, using one of the UK’s most scientifically validated models. The government’s task now is to generate through its policies the investor confidence that will enable these projections to be turned into reality.”


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