Addressing climate change is an important goal in its own right but, as this report and illustrated guide demonstrate, it can also help address some of the greatest economic and social challenges facing our country.

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It has been known for years that climate change is happening and is man-made, and there is growing concern that the world is heading for a catastrophic temperature rise of 4??C. Since 2010, increased instances of severe weather events, rising import dependency and oil prices, and the falling costs of renewable energy have all added to the case for urgent action. Nearly 70 per cent of the British public are concerned by climate change, which represents a clear political mandate for action.

As well as being an important goal in its own right, addressing climate change can – as this report and the illustrated guide that accompanies it demonstrate – help to address three of the greatest challenges facing our country.

  • The consumer challenge: energy and transport costs have spiralled and trust in markets has declined, while living standards have stagnated.
  • The capacity challenge: there has been a lack of investment in much-needed new infrastructure, and not enough emphasis has been placed on managing existing usage of energy and transport.
  • The regional challenge: while there has been economic recovery at the national level, there has been varied performance in terms of decent jobs and growth in our regions.

Getting our domestic policy on climate change right is vital if we are also to meet the international challenge. The EU is losing its leadership position on climate change and needs fresh impetus, particularly since China and the US are now takingsignificant new steps to clean up their economies.

The report sets out each of these challenges in greater detail, and offers 17 ideas for how these problems can be addressed. These ideas centre on the need for:

  • an Obama-style audit of the risks that climate change poses to our security and way of life here in the UK
  • a shift in focus away from large-scale generation onto energy efficiency, 'smart' demand-management tools, and smaller technologies, so that we can realise their potential to cut bills, reduce carbon and create jobs
  • new sources of finance for low-carbon infrastructure, particularly from communities and individuals
  • greater certainty for all our low-carbon sectors so that businesses have a solid framework in which to grow and create decent jobs in every region.