Climate change - the 'challenge of our age'

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, has laid out how green industries are key to Britain’s economic recovery in a speech at the Guardian’s Cleantech Energy Summit in London.

Describing climate change as “the challenge of our age”, Mr Huhne told the summit how the global low-carbon goods and environmental services market “is expected to reach £4 trillion by the end of this Parliament” with a growth rate of 4% per year- faster than world GDP.

Mr Huhne also said that the UK held a £112 billion share in this market, which is expected to employ nearly one million people in the UK by the end of the decade.

“In budgetary hard times,” he declared, “growth like this is hard to come by. And it is even harder to ignore.”

These figures, Mr Huhne revealed, helped to secure a “favourable settlement” for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) during the recent Comprehensive Spending Review, with £200 million pledged for low-carbon technologies, £860 million for the Renewable Heat Incentive and up to £1 billion for the commercial-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration project.

“We achieved this settlement,” he explained, “because we could present a clear and economically sound answer to the question of where the growth will come from.”

Commercial recycler and social welfare charity, Recycling Lives, is already working to reduce carbon emissions while stimulating the economy.

The Recycling Lives Carbon Reduction Department provides a complete carbon reduction solution to both domestic and commercial properties, from initial consultancy to the supply of energy efficient products and materials, ranging from insulation to micro-generation technology.

Meanwhile, Recycling Lives works to improve the economy both locally and nationally by providing training and employment opportunities to the workless and long-term unemployed and supporting start-up businesses and social enterprises through Social Enterprise Education (SEE) – a ‘not-for-profit’ company that works with local colleges and universities to provide a complete academic syllabus, with vocational courses from the dedicated Recycling Lives Training Department.

Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman, Steven Jackson, said: “Individually, climate change and the economic crisis represent two of the biggest challenges both nationally and globally.

“It is vital that as we move the economy forward after the recession we do so in a way that ensures environmental, as well as economic, sustainability for future generations.”