David Cameron: green growth is the future

By Ed King

British Prime Minister David Cameron has told an Indian audience dangerous climate change can only be avoided if the world’s major nations decarbonise their economies.

Speaking during a question and answer session at Hindustan Unilever in Mumbai, Cameron hailed British efforts to promote green growth, but said the onus was on the likes of India, China and the USA to take action.

“Frankly unless the really big economies decide to take on the issue of climate change, then we won’t succeed in what we need to do,” he said.

“All over the world governments are not doing enough – we are not on track to meet what we need to do to deal with climate change and to ensure our policies are sustainable,” he added.

“But I think there are countries – and I’m proud to be Prime Minister of one – who can put their hand up and say we are taking real steps.

“We’ve set up a Green Investment Bank with three billion pounds in it to invest in green projects. We passed some of the first climate change legislation anywhere in the world, to put limits on the carbon in our economy.”

Cameron is in Mumbai hoping to tap into India’s vastly expanding infrastructure market (Pic: Number 10 Flickr)

Cameron is in Mumbai leading a trade delegation that includes Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and London Underground.

India plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next five years, and quadruple its electricity capacity.

The government’s commitment to provide electricity to 44% of the population who are without power has led to a huge rise in coal power plants.

An IEA update in 2012 predicts that India will be the largest seaborne coal importer by 2017 and the second-largest coal consumer, overtaking the USA.

In 2011 investment in Indian clean-energy projects rose 52% to $10.3 billion according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance – faster than any other large economy.

Despite arguments at home over the government’s commitment to the low carbon agenda, Cameron said he was keen to spread message of ‘green growth’ across the world.

“I think the argument we have to have right across the world is we have to prove to business and our people that this is a growth agenda, not a miserable agenda of low growth and no growth,” he said.

“It’s a growth agenda because these new green technologies, whether it is waste recycling, wind power or nuclear power – these are growth items and green-tech jobs are growing faster in our economy than many other parts of the economy – so that is the battle we have to have.”

 VIDEO: David Cameron Q&A at Hindustan Unilever in Mumbai

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