Monday, 27 April 2009

UK Budget

Now the dust as settled, let's have a brief recap of last week's UK budget, which was keenly awaited for its green content, which turned out to be mixed:

- The government is now committed to a 34% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 (compared with 1990), but this may be revised again after the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year. The Committee on Climate Change is looking for a 42% reduction if there is an international agreement.

- £4bn of new investment from the European Investment Bank will be available for renewable energy projects.

- A total of £1.4bn in funding to address various aspects of climate change, including:

*£405m in support for green manufacturing and energy (including nuclear)

*£525m to support the offshore wind sector through the Renewables Obligations scheme

*£375 to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses (with a further £210m from the pre-budget report)

*£45m for small-scale renewables projects

The downside is that the green element is less than the proportion in recent economic stimulus packages from other countries (including China). The budget also included:

- The car scrappage scheme, in which owners of 10-year old cars could get £2,000 to trade them in for a new car, which some believe has the potential to increase overall emissions

- Incentives to extract oil and gas from the North Sea

- New coal-fired power stations incorporating (untried and untested) carbon capture and storage technologies.


From the IT perspective, though, it represents significant opportunities. Much of the renewable energy and manufacturing investments will require ICT support in some form or other and the increased emissions target for 2020 puts more pressure on the economy as a whole to adopt ICT-supported energy efficiency measures.



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