David Cameron has laid out his ambitions for the UK to become a global leader in green innovation and energy efficiency.

In a speech to mark the launch of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Energy Efficiency Strategy, the Prime Minister said: “My argument today is not just about doing what is right for our planet, but doing what is right for our economy too. We are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race will be those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.”

Cameron spoke of the $4 trillion potential of the global low carbon sector and the importance to the UK of capitalising on the economic opportunity available. Cameron explained: “It is the countries that prioritise green energy that will secure the biggest share of jobs and growth in a global low carbon sector.

“To those who say we just can't afford to prioritise green energy right now, my view is we can't afford not to.”

The speech marks Cameron’s first major talk on the green economy in Britain since he came to power. The Prime Minister has come under continued criticism from green groups following the Conservative leader’s pledge to run “the greenest government ever” before the election. Since the promise, there have been a number of high-profile disagreements within the coalition government over its green agenda.

The newly-launched Energy Efficiency Strategy follows up the high profile launch of the Green Deal last month. DECC hopes that the strategy will allow the UK to save 196TWh of energy by 2020.

Responding to Cameron’s green economy speach, Gaynor Hartnell, Cheif Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “The Prime Minister’s words are welcome. Whilst the government has an impressive list of policy measures in place, there is a great deal of uncertainty on Electricity Market Reform, feed-in tariffs and even the Renewable Heat Incentive. Confidence needs to be boosted and it seems David Cameron acknowledges this.”