Opinion: The green economy is alive and kicking

We must seize the opportunity the green economy gives us.

By Anders Lorenzen

An idealistic lefty fantasy world. These are some of the words that anti-green people have used to describe the green economy. I will in this blog try to highlight why they’re the ones living in an idealistic fantasy world.

When I visited the Ecobuild conference in the Excel center in London last month, I was pleasantly surprised about how big the green economy really is and growing. The trade show which highlights the latest technology advances in sustainable design and building were buzzing and it showed to me how businesses have really grabbed the trend of going green and it’s evident they now understand it makes economic sense and the ones who don’t who will be left behind in tomorrow’s market.

But, and it’s a big but, there is something holding the UK back in maximising the growth of the green economy and that is the UK chancellor George Osborne. Despite the straight facts the green economy presents to us, despite IMF, economists, Barack Obama and a host of other high profile names talking up the potential in green growth, he does not seem to get it. He’s handing out tax breaks to fossil fuel companies, and in illusioned way thinks that a dash for gas and fracking would bring growth to the UK, despite economists saying that it won’t happen. He does not see the obvious growth potentials in the green economy and believes looking after the environment is a sacrifice we cannot afford. He is on a dangerous path locking the UK into an old fashioned fossil fuel economy. In a report from the think tank Green Alliance, encouraging numbers showed that the green economy in 2011 were worth £122 billion with the general economy being £1315 billion, and that was in 2011 – The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says that the books from 2011 – 2012 will show that over a third of UK’s growth are likely to come from green business.

On the 9th of April it was confirmed that the last turbine had been connected on the first phase of the London Array, making it the world’s largest offshore wind farm. With the right infrastructure investments you could create more British jobs and not rely on foreign investment like Danish Dong Energy who owns 50% of the wind farm along with a host of other UK offshore wind farms. Furthermore all the parts have been shipped from abroad and not produced in the UK, the extra boost the green economy could be given if all those parts were manufactured in the UK is an opportunity we can’t miss. We got the chance to better this as we’re only seeing the beginning of the offshore opportunity in the UK and as other countries both inside and outside of the EU are starting to look to the offshore wind market, the growth potential in this sector is immense. The northern part of the UK, who are still suffering the industrial hangover from the decline in mining, could generate a new golden industrial area with factories supplying the huge potential for offshore wind along with other developing marine technologies like wave and tidal power on both the east and west coast. Were that to happen large economies like France, Korea, China and US which are in the next few years set to enter the offshore renewable market could see the UK as the ideal country to import from with their expertise in the industry.

The green economy presents a goldmine waiting in the horizon, now it’s up to the UK, they must grab it.

Subedited by Charlotte Paton

Categories: fracking, Osborne

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