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Tories Poach Gordon Brown’s Chief Climate Alarmist

Shadow chancellor George Osborne is set to announce that one of Gordon Brown’s most influential environmental advisers is to assist a Conservative working group. Lord Stern’s 2006 report for the Treasury on the economics of climate change was a key factor in the development of the Government’s approach to global warming and he is frequently cited by the Prime Minister as an authority on the need for action.

But the economist – ennobled by Mr Brown as a non-party peer in 2007 – will now advise the Tory working group on the creation of a Green Investment Bank to drive the development of climate-friendly technology.

His recruitment will be regarded as a coup by Conservative strategists, keen to burnish David Cameron’s green credentials.

In a speech understood to focus on the question of where Britain’s future economic growth will come from, Mr Osborne will accuse the Labour Government of failing to support green technology and leaving Britain “lagging behind” rivals in the field.

He will argue that a Green Investment Bank would consolidate Government backing for low-carbon technology, currently dispersed between a number of different funds, and help lever in private capital.

New green technologies represent an important new source of jobs, investment and enterprise for the UK as it emerges from recession, Mr Osborne will say.

With the UK taking a share of less than 5% of the three trillion-dollar (£1.9trn) global market for green goods and services – less than France, Germany, the US or Japan – there are many opportunities for new technology to provide work and prosperity for Britain, he will say.

Speaking at the British Museum in London, Mr Osborne will announce that leading business figures including Bob Wigley, chairman of Yell Group, have agreed to join the working group.

The Press Association, 2 February 2010