London: The global market for low carbon goods and services could grow by a third in six years and may expand even faster if a climate change deal is reached in Copenhagen later this year, the UK government said on Wednesday.
The sector could expand to £ 4.3 trillion ($7,047 billion) by 2015 from £ 3 trillion in 2007-08, boosted by countries looking for ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a government policy paper.
Britain will say at 1200 GMT how it plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change, after the G8 summit in Italy set a goal of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050.
That target was undermined within hours when Russia said it could not meet it and Canada called it “aspirational”. A second drive to persuade China and India to cut emissions by 50% by 2050 also failed.
With Britain in its worst recession in 50 years and an election less than a year away, the Labour government has been keen to talk up the benefits of the growing environmental sector.
“There is no high carbon future,” business secretary Peter Mandelson said in a statement. “But if the transition to low carbon is inevitable, what is not inevitable is that we use the transition as a chance to develop new jobs, new industries here in Britain.”
Britain’s low carbon sector will be one of the few areas of the economy that will grow during the recession and beyond, the government policy document said. It should see growth of more than 4% each year up to 2014-15.
The number of people employed in the sector in Britain could rise to more than 1 million by 2015, compared to 880,000 today.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband will later set out how Britain hopes to cut emissions by 34% by 2020 from 1990 levels and by at least 80% by 2050.
Britain’s proposals are expected to call for an enlarged nuclear programme as well as far greater reliance on renewable energy sources like wind, solar and tidal power, Miliband signalled in interviews ahead of the report’s publication.
Under European Union targets Britain will have to get 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 compared to just 1.3% in 2005.