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The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

Posts Tagged ‘Lena Ek’

Climate change: an economic opportunity

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Just over a year ago on a warm August afternoon, I paid a call on the Environment Minister, Lena Ek.  She had an idea she wanted to share with the UK about the campaign for action on climate change.

Twelve months on, that idea has been launched as a major international effort in New York, just as the UN’s Climate Change panel (IPCC) has underlined the scale of the challenge with its fifth assessment report, published last week in Stockholm.

Lena Ek’s idea was an new assessment of the economic costs and benefits of tackling climate change, not least to show how decarbonisation of our economies could bring opportunities for business as well as costs.

The UK was positive to the idea and Sweden and we have now teamed up with Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Korea and Norway.

The New Climate Economy is the flagship project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and will bring together a group of the world’s leading economists, policy and business experts to analyse and share the economic opportunities and risks that arise from climate change.

The project aims to give new, independent and expert insights on the debates around ‘green growth’.  Its starting point will not be climate change policy, but economic growth and development and the key economic priorities of governments, cities, businesses and investors.

We do not know what the final report will say.  And indeed that’s the point.  This will be an independent analysis of the evidence without pre-conceived views or conclusions.

The basis for its research programme will be the continuing need for growth and development in the world today.  It will focus on poverty reduction and job creation and the achievement of wider development priorities, including food security, energy access, urban planning, sustainable land use, natural resource efficiency, and cleaner air and water.

By consulting directly with, for example, finance ministries, business leaders, city mayors and major investors, the experts will analyse how the economic decisions affecting climate change are made.  The findings will be used to show how policy and investments can take climate risks and opportunities into account in a better way.

The report, to be published in September 2014, will make recommendations to governments and the private sector on how to achieve lower-carbon economic growth and development.

The New Climate Economy project aims to drive economic action and to inform global economic debate in the run-up to the UN Secretary General’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change in 2014, and the International Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

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Europe, energy, and the green growth economy

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Last week I spent two fascinating days in Uppsala, talking to students about UK views on the future of Europe, and meeting local politicians, businesses and academics.

I stressed, as I did at a meeting with the British-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, the UK’s commitment to the EU, but also our recognition of the need for reform.

We had a top UK politician in Stockholm last week.

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, met his Swedish counterparts, Anna-Karin Hatt and Lena Ek. He also talked to actual and potential Swedish investors in the UK.

There’s a huge opportunity for Swedish investors in the UK energy market.  We need £110 billion investment over the next decade to replace our ageing energy infrastructure (coal fired power plants and nuclear energy) with a more diverse and low-carbon energy mix, particularly more renewable energy.

We start the process of decarbonising our economy a long way behind Sweden, given your natural advantages. Our aim is to have 15% of our energy from renewable by 2020 (which is our EU target), whereas Sweden is already, I think, getting more than triple that, almost half its energy, from renewables.

But we’re committed to meeting our goals: indeed we’ve set a long term goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050; that is why it is so important that we increase the share of our energy we get from renewables alongside other low carbon technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Ed Davey and Lena Ek talked to their Danish and Dutch counterparts about the need to make the case, in the EU and beyond, for a Green Growth strategy, showing that making the planet healthier is fully compatible with continuing to grow our economies. That will also be a theme when David Cameron goes to Latvia to meet his Nordic and Baltic counterparts at the third Northern Future Forum this week.

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