Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker has suggested Britain should further increase carbon emissions reduction targets.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Barker, said: “There is plenty of scope for us to increase that level of ambition and push up the carbon price and still do it in a way that is good for business and gives long-term certainty, but doesn’t actually harm our competitiveness.”
He added the 2020 emissions target could be increased from 20% to 30% “comfortably”.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “The Government’s environmental targets already impose a sizeable cost on business, at a time when everyone is working hard to get the economy growing.
“The reason the carbon price is low is that growth is still slow; the price will rise as the economy recovers, but if Ministers try to increase it artificially they will strangle growth.
“Business needs to know that the framework Government has set out is reliable and fixed – moving the goalposts will make our members’ lives a lot harder.
“British industry has got to compete with America and Asia, and higher emissions targets make that much more difficult to do.”
Gary Davis, operations director for Ecometrica, carbon accounting specialists, said: “I think it’s always a good thing to have ambition, and this increase is sign of that.
“The 30% target has already been done in Scotland, and they have been pushing for that across England and Europe.
“Will this affect business? it’s a possibility. But those businesses that it will most directly impact, such as the power generation firms, simply passed on the increases to customers, as did airlines.
“The key to this move is the Government trying to stimulate growth in the green economy.”