Business plays a vital role in low-carbon challenge, says CBI boss

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn says business has a vital role to play in achieving ambitions for a low-carbon future.

Speaking at the BP/CharIN Powering the Charge Conference she reinforced that message when she spoke about the role business has played – and will continue to play – in responding to the climate change challenge.

She said: “Since 1990, we’ve grown our economy by more than 60% while cutting carbon emissions by more than 40%. Last year, 53% of our electricity came from low-carbon sources – and we have just gone 162 hours without coal, by far the longest period since the industrial revolution.

“Let’s be clear – none of that could have been achieved without business,” she said. “And it’s because the energy transition is so pressing and so difficult that we need business to deliver change. It can’t be done any other way.”

But she added change is also not possible without collaboration with government – and cross-party consensus.

“Brexit has been a lesson in the folly of trying to enact large-scale change without political consensus – it just doesn’t work,” she said.

And to pick up the pace and consistency of change across the UK, Carolyn called for a single regulator to oversee the energy transition to avoid businesses having to deal with “multiple regulators and agencies, each of which has different standards, different levels of responsiveness, operating under different legislation”.