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UK’s Green Sector Lags Behind European Counterparts; think tank


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The United Kingdom finds itself at a pivotal juncture in the global race for green growth, but recent actions and a lack of a robust green industrial strategy have raised concerns about

the nation’s ability to seize the economic opportunities presented by the transition to a net-zero economy. A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) highlights the UK’s lagging position compared to international competitors and calls for urgent action to reverse this trend. This article delves into the findings of the IPPR report, examining the challenges and potential benefits associated with green growth in the UK.


The Green Growth Challenge


The IPPR’s report emphasizes that the absence of a comprehensive green industrial strategy has left the UK trailing behind other major powers that are actively supporting the shift toward a net-zero economy. While countries like the United States have enacted legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the European Union has put forth the Green Deal Industrial Plan, the UK has recently rolled back some of its net-zero policies, making it an outlier in the global context.


One of the key concerns raised in the report is the inadequacy of UK public investment in the net-zero economy. The analysis conducted by the IPPR reveals that commitments to invest in clean energy technologies in the UK are among the lowest in the G7 group of leading western economies. This lack of substantial investment poses a significant hurdle to the country’s ability to harness the economic benefits of green growth.


The IPPR also highlights the absence of effective collaboration between public research, strategic investment, and industry coordination, a framework that has been instrumental in the success of green initiatives in other nations. In contrast, this synergy is “glaringly absent” in the UK, hindering its ability to tap into the full potential of the green sector.


Economic Disparity in Green Contributions


A critical observation made in the IPPR report concerns the disparity between the UK and its European counterparts in terms of the contribution of green goods and services to gross domestic product (GDP). The green sector currently contributes just 3.9% to the UK’s GDP, compared to 5.8% in the EU. Notably, Denmark and Sweden lead the way, with the green sector contributing approximately 11% to their GDP.


Opportunity for Growth


Despite the challenges, the shift to a net-zero economy offers substantial economic potential for the UK. The IPPR report suggests that embracing green growth could add up to 2.4% to the country’s GDP and create 1.6 million jobs by 2030. However, realizing these benefits hinges on the development of a comprehensive industrial strategy and increased public investment in green technologies.


The Way Forward


The IPPR’s assessment underscores the critical importance of a coherent and ambitious green industrial strategy for the UK. To remain competitive in the global race for green growth and combat climate change effectively, the country must prioritize the development of a comprehensive plan that aligns with its environmental and economic goals.


IPPR associate director Luke Murphy emphasizes the urgency of this situation, stating that “The UK is at a pivotal juncture. While other nations are forging ahead in the global green race, the UK is moving into reverse gear.” He highlights the missed economic opportunities and calls for a renewed commitment to green growth.


IPPR senior research fellow Josh Emden adds that the transition to a net-zero economy is not merely a climate necessity but an economic opportunity waiting to be harnessed. The UK must develop a clear road map to achieve its net-zero goals while capitalizing on the economic potential offered by the green sector.




The IPPR report serves as a wake-up call for the United Kingdom, highlighting the need for a comprehensive green industrial strategy and increased public investment to support green growth. While challenges exist, the economic opportunities presented by the shift to a net-zero economy are substantial. The UK’s ability to capitalize on these opportunities will not only enhance its economic prosperity but also contribute significantly to global efforts to combat climate change. The time to act is now, as every day of inaction risks valuable jobs, technological advancements, and a sustainable future.

Wasim Qadri
Wasim Qadri
Islamabad based Senior Journalist, TV Show Host, Media Trainer, can be follow on twitter @jaranwaliya

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