Development gains as well as carbon reduction, should be UK’s ambition

5th Dec 2018


Former International Development Minister, Mike Foster, who now runs the influential trade body the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), has today called for the UK’s climate change policy to seek international development gains too.

In a submission to the Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC), ‘Building a zero carbon economy ‘- call for evidence, Mr Foster highlighted the co-benefits that could accrue from adopting a sensible policy framework. These co-benefits, reduce carbon emissions but also lead to major development gains such as improved health, economic development and greater educational opportunities – all key aspects of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Foster, Chief Executive, EUA said:

 “The UK is at the forefront of climate change policy, with its Climate Change Act. It is also, and I speak from experience, a world-leader on international development matters. In response to the CCC’s consultation, I’ve suggested greater use of joint work.”

 “As an example, supporting some of the poorest people on the planet to give up burning wood for cooking, and using a cleaner fuel such as portable LPG, reduces carbon emissions from cooking. It also stops trees being felled, allowing them to absorb carbon dioxide.

 “Indoor wood burning creates enormous health problems, through inhalation of smoke. This impacts economic development. Using LPG cookers allows family members more time to take up paid employment too. ”

 “If the UK, as part of its ambition, took action we could reduce carbon emissions from the poorest countries, who probably can’t afford to do so themselves, and the UK could reduce global carbon levels cheaper than if it restricted its actions to just UK carbon production.”

 “There are carbon offsetting programmes, which offer genuine additionality to carbon savings and run by reputable bodies such as WWF, which cost just £10 per tonne of carbon saved. According to the UK’s energy regulator, Ofgem, the estimated cost to the consumer of subsidies to small scale renewables in the UK, is £315 per tonne of carbon saved.”

 “The UK is rightly expected to do what it can to decarbonise but a global problem such as climate change, suggests that global solutions must be considered. If the world’s poorest people can get some benefit from our actions to tackle climate change, then there is a moral obligation to do.”