William Hague has warned cabinet ministers that Britain needs to show greater commitment to the low carbon economy in a leaked letter obtained by the Guardian.

In the letter, the Foreign Secretary insists that Government should be more pro-active in helping boost the green economy for fear of falling behind other green-focused economies, such as Germany and China.

Hague believes that senior ministers are failing to acknowledge the key benefits of a green economy, chiefly: reducing exposure to volatile energy prices; revitalising manufacturing based in low carbon sectors; modernising infrastructure and reducing utility bills by cutting energy use.     

Hague’s letter states: “I believe we should reframe our response to climate change as an imperative for growth rather than merely being a way of being green or meeting environmental commitments.”

The Foreign Secretary continued: “The low carbon economy is at the leading edge of a structural shift now taking place globally … we need to stay abreast of this, given our need for an export-led recovery and for inward investment in modern infrastructure and advanced manufacturing.”

In the letter Hague proposes a number of strategies he believes the UK should pursue including, lowering barriers to trade and investment in low carbon goods and services, pressurising the EU to liberalise energy markets to encourage new technology and stop energy wastage and a more concerted effort to invest in low carbon infrastructure.

Hague also called on the UK to leverage its presidency of the 2013 G8 summit to further push green strategy into the mainstream. Hague predicts that unless Government takes the front foot over green issues the chance of securing an international deal on climate change will be greatly diminished.   

Hague said: “We will not secure a binding agreement in 2015 unless the idea of low carbon growth becomes dominant across the major economies before then, we can leverage this. But our diplomacy will only succeed if it is rooted in our own domestic narrative.”

The Foreign Secretary recognises that a series of high-profile green-gaffes including, reneging on the Daily Mail-branded “conservatory tax”, downgrading the Prime Minister’s CEM3 keynote speech to just “remarks”, George Osborne’s continued anti-green rhetoric and the catastrophic handling of solar PV feed-in tariffs, have seriously damaged confidence in the UK clean tech industry. As a result, Hague explains that: “We could get more mileage from this (green strategy) without additional commitment of expenditure or fiscal risk.” The politician also recognised the importance of green issues amongst the electorate, stating that a stronger green strategy would provide “a particular appeal for the under 30s.”

According to the Guardian, both Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, wrote back to temper Hague’s suggestions, noting that any push towards green policies must “fairly represent the costs involved alongside the benefits in order to be credible.”