There is an unprecedented international consensus that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges we face globally. But tackling climate change also has the potential to be one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time, putting us at the forefront of the global shift to clean growth. By one estimate, our low-carbon economy could grow 11 per cent a year to 2030 – that’s four times faster than the rest of the economy.
We have already shown the world that it is possible to tackle carbon emissions and grow your economy. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing our economy by more than two thirds; a feat unmatched by other G7 countries.
This year is a landmark moment for the UK. It marks ten years since we passed the Climate Change Act, and our modern industrial strategy launched last year will ensure we capitalise on this success, putting clean growth at its heart with ambitious plans to reduce emissions from industry by reducing waste and increasing the efficient use of resources by 50 per cent.
In May, the prime minister announced the first mission under the Clean Growth Grand Challenge to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030, recognising the opportunities for significant carbon savings in the construction sector.
Since 1990 we have reduced emissions from waste by 70 per cent and our 25-year Environment Plan declared that we will work towards eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by end of 2042. By making landfill the place of last resort, our vision is that the UK will be a Zero Avoidable Waste economy by 2050.
We are tackling the scourge of plastics in our oceans too – we are investing £25 million in a new science and research hub to prevent plastics from ending up in our seas, ensuring we protect our oceans and marine life for future generations.
I’m immensely proud of all we’ve achieved so far, and I want to ensure we continue to lead the global transition to a low-carbon future. To do this we must think big, take risks and set ourselves ambitious targets to inspire and energise the best and brightest across the UK. Now more than ever, it is time for us to come together in this challenge, and I look forward to unlocking these opportunities in what is a clear win-win for British people and the rest of the world.