This is a paper based on a presentation to the RBS-HMG UK Low Carbon Economy conference, London, 26 June 2008. At the conference, Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, launched the government’s Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation. This was an invited ‘thought piece’ presented at the conference.

Key findings

It was argued that:

  • The international context has fundamentally changed. In the last 2-4 years a variety of substantive factors have now aligned to create a unique point to tackle the energy and environmental challenges ahead, particularly climate change;
  • Creating the conditions where significant capital flows into the clean energy sector is a vital part of capturing this new circumstance – and the role of government policy will be vital;
  • Part of this debate is considering, today, what kind of society, and what kind of energy economy will be resilient in 2020/2025, in a world facing uncertain, and potentially destabilising global conditions.
  • Fostering an environment now, that enables the next phase of leaders to thrive, is what could be termed the ‘new competitiveness’. Put succinctly: ‘If you want a competitive economy in 2020, who should you be talking to now?’