Osborne: UK won't lead EU carbon cuts

3rd October 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Mitigation



The UK will not risk going bust by cutting CO2 emissions faster than the rest of Europe, George Osborne has announced at the Conservative party conference.

In his speech this afternoon, the chancellor confirmed that the UK would be working to reduce carbon emissions “no slower, but no faster” than the rest of the EU, arguing that “a decade of environmental laws and regulations” were to blame for increased energy bills.

“Yes, climate change is a man-made disaster. Yes, we need international agreement to stop it,” he said. “But Britain makes up less than 2% of the world’s carbon emissions to China and America’s 40%. We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”

Osborne's comments were condemned by environmental group Friends of the Earth, with executive director Andy Atkins saying: "The chancellor clearly can’t do his sums... Harnessing the UK’s clean power potential is the only way to boost our energy industry and keep costs down in the long run.

“Protecting the economy and the planet are two sides of the same coin – if the chancellor can’t grasp this, David Cameron is doomed to fail in his pledge to lead the greenest government ever.”

The chancellor's comments followed less than 24 hours after energy minister Charles Hendry argued that the UK must become a world leader in low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture and storage.

“We can be leaders in these new industries or we can be followers,” he said. “If we follow, we import the technology and we export the jobs and the wealth. If we lead, we help create the technologies thatwill transform the global approach to energy and deliver real low-carbon energy security for decades to come.

“Britain led the world in the industrial revolution; as we face a new industrial revolution, an energy revolution, we are determined to make sure it does so again and to win those jobs for Britain.”


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close