The North East could receive a major jobs boost thanks to plans to tackle climate change.
European countries have come together to discuss climate and energy targets. The agreement will see cuts to greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030, and also increase energy efficiency and renewables use by at least 27%. However, hopes were high that more ambitious targets would have been agreed as higher targets would have meant more green jobs.
The Labour MEPs for the North East have said they would have liked to have seen a more ambitious cut in energy use. A 40% cut would give the UK a £62bn boost and create 40,000 jobs in the UK - 1 million in total across Europe.
Although the target could have been more ambitious the proposed cuts are a step towards unleashing the potential for jobs and growth, from the integration of European energy networks through interconnectors and from development of carbon capture and storage technology.
The North East also has the right mix of skills and businesses to benefit from the development of interconnectors which link up EU countries. This helps the UK develop its energy security as we can move energy around Europe. The UK is already connected to France and the Netherlands and it was recently announced that the longest subsea cable will be laid between Blyth in the North East and Norway. It is also a way of bringing jobs to the North East as our offshore and subsea sector are really well placed to win these contracts.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said “The North East needs more and better jobs and green jobs can deliver just that. We could strengthen our energy security and grow our economy at the same time. To do this investors in the energy grid need certainty therefore it is regrettable that earlier drafts contained targets on interconnection which were deleted in the final agreement.”
The agreement, despite the lack of ambition, will also help create jobs in developing carbon capture and storage technology. This Thursday (23/10/2014) Labour MEP Paul Brannen called on the Council of the European Union to make Carbon Capture and Storage an intrinsic part of the new EU 2030 climate and energy action framework.
In a speech in the European Parliament, Mr Brannen outlined the benefits of this new technology, saying
"Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, can reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, thereby tackling climate change. In this way we can buy the time we need to transition to renewable energy. CCS can capture carbon emissions from the production of steel, cement, and fertiliser", and in doing so offers a low carbon future to these vital industries. CCS can provide jobs, thereby pumping money into the economy."