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With 2030 emissions targets on the horizon, what should an emissions reduction plan look like?

The CBI has long argued that decarbonisation and economic growth can go hand in hand. Our recent report Stepping up to the Challenge sets out how a whole system plan, combined with the right mind-set can deliver carbon targets, but also help the UK create growth and prosperity in all regions, and a global calling card in low-carbon technologies and services.

Since the UK legislated on its Climate Change Act in 2008, we have already taken some great steps towards cutting emissions, with business leading the way. However the stakes have been raise through tough targets - a 57% reduction in emissions on 1990 levels by 2030 - but also an uncertain political context in which they must be delivered, with the triggering of Article 50 leading us to redefine our relationship with the EU. We now need a clear, long-term plan to give business the confidence to innovate and invest, thereby delivering emissions targets, alongside sustained growth and prosperity.

Our report Stepping up to the Challenge argues that as well as meeting our carbon targets we can go further. If done right, this emissions reduction plan could deliver secure, affordable and low-carbon energy. But it could also build upon existing economic strengths to deliver global competitiveness, resilience, wellbeing, and prosperity across all regions of the UK. The government has already indicated the direction of travel for the UK through their Industrial Strategy green paper, and now it’s key that the low-carbon transition is embedded within this. 

In order to benefit from the host of opportunities this transition provides, the UK needs the right support. We have already seen new and exciting synergies across the economy, and with a rise in smart technology and the internet of things this is likely to continue. By 2030 we could be living in a more connected world, with innovations impacting how we produce, store and share energy. As such it’s crucial that we see a whole system plan - one that accounts for the interdependence of the economy, but that also provides more targeted policy action in order to remove barriers and unlock this investment in our homes, transport, power systems and businesses.

In order to turn this low-carbon transition into an opportunity for growth and competitiveness, we must approach this challenge with the right mind-set. One that sees business and government working together, but also that brings consumers with us on this low-carbon journey through an honest conversation about the benefits, but also the costs.

With 2030 just two investment cycles away for some businesses, and a number of emerging economies staking their claim in the global low-carbon market we must act now in order to meet carbon targets. In doing so, the UK has a once in a life time opportunity to maximise the full range of benefits that can come from this transition.

Read the full report, and member case studies here