Government minister Claire Perry: How Norfolk can be at the forefront of tackling climate change
- Credit: Department for Business, Energy
In the wake of a stark report by the United Nations about how the clock is ticking to limit a climate change catastrophe, the government's minister for energy and clean growth has outlined how Norfolk can play its part.
'Norfolk formed the backbone of England's medieval economy, with the region's booming wool industry securing Nelson's county as England's most prosperous region for hundreds of years.
'Today Norfolk is at the forefront of a new and exciting economic opportunity sweeping the globe – clean growth, a true British success story.
'We're a world leader when it comes to clean growth, cutting emissions by more than 40pc since 1990 while driving economic prosperity.
'Across the UK almost 400,000 people work in low carbon businesses and their supply chains - from the innovators creating better, more efficient batteries to the factories putting them in less polluting cars.
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'But, just last week a group of expert climate scientists warned governments around the globe that more action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid devastating risks to health and global prosperity.
'Everyone recognises this is one of the greatest challenges of our generation and this government is determined to leave our natural environment in a better place than we found it.
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'That's why today I've asked independent climate experts to consider whether now is the right time to set a date for a net zero emissions target.
'But making our climate change targets more ambitious could also be one of the biggest industrial opportunities of our time.
'We want businesses and communities to play their part which is why, today, we're launching the first ever Green GB Week.
'There will be events across the week to showcase the leading role Norfolk's academic community and businesses are playing in new low carbon technologies, innovative financial products and business models that will help us tackle climate change while generating economic growth.
'For example, on Thursday specialist engineers are hosting an event at Strangers' Hall in Norwich, to inform museum curators and others about how best to improve the energy efficiency in historic buildings.
'Green GB Week provides a focal point to promote these types of businesses to international investors.
'Businesses are already stepping up to the mark to play their part in a move to clean growth, with groups such as the Fabric First Institute in Easton training tradespeople in energy efficient construction skills.
'But we want society to do more and this Green GB Week we're asking companies and communities from King's Lynn to Lowestoft to take action to tackle climate change.
'East Anglia is playing a pivotal role in supporting the UK's green economy, with 19,000 people employed locally in the sector. 'The coast off Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is at the centre of the world's largest market for offshore wind, with almost 1,000 turbines currently delivering energy to homes across the region.
'And it doesn't stop there - the world's largest windfarm is in development off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk, expected to generate enough to power another one million homes.
'These economic opportunities are only getting bigger. The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has forecast that the green economy will be worth £50bn to the region over the next 25 years, with the region set to play a primary role in driving the sustainable growth of the UK economy. Another 25,000 people could work on Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk if it goes ahead.
'We're creating the right conditions to ensure businesses can seize those opportunities through our modern Industrial Strategy. We've earmarked more than half a billion pounds for emerging renewable technologies to give developers the certainty they need to invest while driving down costs for consumers.
'And today we're laying the groundwork for energy infrastructure of the future, launching a £320m fund for low carbon heating for cities, laid the groundwork for smart and clean energy systems of the future and in 2019 we will launch a competition to design the house fit for 2030 - more energy efficient, with quality affordable design.
'There are opportunities for clean growth innovation wherever you look, whether it's using low carbon hydrogen to power our vehicles and buildings or recycling heat from industrial processes to reduce energy bills for businesses.
'The case for tackling climate change is more stark than ever before. This Green GB Week, we need everyone – the government, businesses and communities – to renew their efforts to confront this global challenge head on while seizing one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time.'
• Claire Perry is the government's minister for energy and clean growth.