Foreign Secretary calls for low carbon economic growth

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Foreign Secretary William Hague emphasised that economies must meet the challenge of climate change by transforming to low carbon, during an event at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 19 January.

Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, is visiting Australia for bilateral talks, and spoke at the launch of an initiative to support young eco-entrepreneurs across the Asia-Pacific region. The initiative, known as E-idea, is jointly run by the British Council and Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) and will help young people across the Asia-Pacific make a real practical difference in their countries. The competition will be run in seven countries, with each country awarding up to six prizes.

Efforts to address climate change in Britain have gone hand in hand with economic growth. Between 1990 and 2005, the economy grew by more than 30 per cent, while greenhouse gas emissions fell by more than 12 per cent.

At the launch, Mr Hague said the challenge is to seize the opportunities low carbon presents and join the countries that are already out in front - or risk being left behind. The UK sees the low carbon transition as providing exciting economic and business opportunities.

During the recent recession, the low carbon sector was one of the few areas of the economy to show healthy growth. Britain’s share of the global industry in low carbon goods and services is valued at up to $180 billion, with nearly a million British people employed in the sector.

The global market value of low carbon and environmental goods and services is now over $5.2 trillion and is expected to grow again by half by 2015. Figures suggest the market is growing at around 5 per cent a year. It is the world’s sixth largest industry. It’s also an industry that’s very important to the UK.

Mr Hague is visiting Australia as part of the most significant official UK visit to Australia for two decades. He is accompanied in Australia by the Right Honourable Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Defence as well as senior British government officials.