The government recently announced a series of measures designed to make Britain a low-carbon economy, including a large expansion of renewable energy (primarily wind), grants for better home insulation and a so-called green transport strategy. Under the Climate Change Act, the UK is “legally bound” to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels).
Meeting such ambitious targets will require substantial investment and while ministers have emphasised alleged advantages, such as the creation of 400,000 “green jobs”, there has been little acknowledgement of the wider economic impact.
Higher energy bills and transport costs are likely to be devastating for many businesses. Some enterprises will be forced to close. Others will relocate to locations where energy and transport are cheaper and environmental regulations less burdensome. In some instances, potential entrepreneurs won’t even bother starting new ventures in the UK. Overall, jobs are likely to be lost rather than created.