Memorandum submitted by
UK Youth Climate Coalition
The UK Youth Climate Coalition believes that the Energy Bill is a key opportunity to generate thousands of green jobs. These green jobs will come about if the Government chooses to use the Bill to truly decarbonise the UK’s power sector and provide security and investment for renewable technologies. As an entirely youth-led organisation, we strongly feel that the growth of green and clean technology industries can help the UK to grow in the face of the current economic uncertainty facing the country - tackling youth unemployment and generating a competitive edge our research and manufacturing industries.
In 2013, the Government can choose a trajectory towards a low-carbon future which provides thousands of green jobs and honours our existing climate change commitments. Or it can take decisions to undermine those commitments and doom us to failing to mitigate emissions. We are calling for:
1. A decarbonisation target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 as advised by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
2. A Feed in Tariff for energy efficiency and measures to reduce demand
The Energy Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to shape the UK’s electricity generation sector. The UK Youth Climate Coalition believes that climate change is the biggest threat to the futures of young people in the UK and across the world.
We believe that investment in renewable energy, demand reduction and energy efficiency can not only help to build a clean safe future for young people and future generations, but also tackle the urgent crisis of youth unemployment. In recent years, youth unemployment has reached record highs, cresting at over one million in 2011#. Green business is one of the few sectors of the economy providing economic growth right now - it provided one third of all economic growth in 2011-12#. Nurturing these green shoots could provide thousands of young people with the opportunity for meaningful, accessible green jobs which provide the living wage.
1. A decarbonisation target on the face of the Bill
In accordance with the CCC’s advice, the Energy Bill should include a decarbonisation target which puts the UK’s electricity sector on a path to reducing emissions to 50gCO2/kWh by 2030. This would be consistent with the carbon target in the Climate Change Act to which this government is are legally bound.
Inclusion of this target would mean that the Energy Bill would provide policy certainty by setting this target and stimulate industries which again could provide thousands of Green Job opportunities for young people.
Across Europe it is estimated that solar PV creates 7- 11 jobs per kilowatt hour compared with 0.95 jobs/kWh from gas, and 1 jobs/kWh from coal.# Industries such as solar PV require new skills, which could result in levelling the playing field in the Green Jobs market for young people out of work, and not in education or training.
We need 1.2 million people to be put to work on the green economy by 2020 in order to meet the demands of the Climate Change Act. The Institute for Public Policy Research has stated that if the UK "pushed ahead with strong policies to limit carbon emissions and invest in low-carbon energy, they would see very significant job creation and experience the social and economic benefits that go with it."#.
Without a decarbonisation target, the Energy Bill does not present the "strong policy" that has been called for by business and investors. Therefore, the Energy Bill must be used to provide investor certainty so that there is enough surplus capital for renewables industries to bridge the skills gap and create opportunities for current and future generations.
With 945,000 young people out of work such decisions are not political bargaining chips for our generation. They represent fundamental elements of the clean, fair future young people deserve and have a right to, which can also create growth and employment for the benefit of the country as a whole.
Failing to make the right choice on either of these issues would both undermine the legal integrity of the Climate Change Act and jeopardise and irresponsibly waste opportunities for thousands of green jobs for young people in the UK, whilst putting the future of our climate at grave risk.
2. A Feed-in-Tariff for energy efficiency
The Energy and Climate Change Committee has pointed out that the Bill fails to address demand-side emissions reductions and energy efficiency. The Committee has called for a Feed-in-Tariff for energy efficiency in order to encourage greater demand reduction. According to the Committee, ‘demand side measures were potentially the cheapest way to decarbonise’ Investment in this area would create additional green jobs in the area of insulation, retrofitting and home energy efficiency improvements.
3. The Energy Bill could make or break our wider climate change commitments
The Government’s gas strategy and tax breaks announced by the Chancellor’s 2012 Autumn Budget Statement provide investment certainty for new gas-fired power stations. The Government has also lifted the moratorium on exploratory drilling for shale gas. A decarbonisation target is needed in order to shape the energy sector and to rule out high-carbon technologies which will lock us into emissions that would breach our emissions reductions commitments.
The Government’s independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has warned that this new gas strategy is ‘completely incompatible’ with its legally-binding commitments under the Climate Change Act to reduce emissions#.
Annex 1: About UKYCC
The UK Youth Climate Coalition is a youth-led organisation which works to inspire, empower, unite and mobilise young people around the issues of climate change. We’re currently made up of 26 volunteers all under the age of 30.
Founded in 2009, we have and continue to achieve this through events such as Power Shift 2009, our Youth for Green Jobs campaign and projects like our annual youth delegation to the UN Climate Talks.
We are made up of 30 coalition partners who work in the areas of faith, social inclusion, youth empowerment and the environment - these are NGOs ranging from RSPB and Oxfam to Student Hubs and Social Breakfast.