|Date: 16/05/2012 Time: 10:37:00 AM
The UK Government should do more to help green
industries boost economic growth, stop the UK falling behind international
rivals, and avoid losing its global leadership on the environment, Foreign
secretary William Hague has told cabinet colleagues, in a private letter seen
by the Guardian newspaper.
The foreign secretary letter to ministers also warns that unless Britain
takes stronger leadership on the green economy, there is no hope of securing
an international agreement on climate change, the paper reported Wednesday.
Hague's letter comes at a sensitive time for the government as it faces
criticism for not doing enough to stimulate growth.
The country has officially entered a double-dip recession with two
consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor Finance Secretary George
Osborne are also under pressure from environmental groups and some business
leaders for failing to live up to their promise to be the "greenest government
ever" as they appear to have watered down their ambition in the face of
opposition from conservative rightwingers, worried about extra regulation and
angry about wind farms, commentators noted.
Nowhere in the letter does Hague overtly criticise the government's
programme, and he is supportive of many elements of it, but the letter appears
"to betray a frustration that more could be done, particularly if senior
government ministers were to be more vocal in their support of the green
Last weekend, Hague told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that business
leaders should "work harder" instead of complain about the government.
The letter appears to suggest that by giving more support to the low carbon
production and consumption, the government could do more to stimulate growth,
pointing to the success of economies which have done so, particularly China
The letter says the strategy would have five benefits: reducing exposure to
volatile energy prices; revitalising manufacturing based in low carbon
sectors; modernising infrastructure; reducing utility bills by cutting energy
use, and it would have "a particular appeal for the under 30s".
"I believe we should reframe our response to climate change as an
imperative for growth, rather than merely being a way of being green or
meeting environmental commitments," says Hague.