Peter Westmacott

Former Ambassador to the United States of America

Part of UK in USA

12th July 2012 Washington DC, USA

Winning Gold in the Green Race

Today the UK is being recognized by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), for its efforts and achievement in energy efficiency. The ACEEE believes that “a country that uses less energy to achieve the same or better results reduces costs and pollution, creating a stronger, more competitive economy.” This is what we’re doing in the UK.

ACEEE looked at 12 of the world’s largest economies representing over 78 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 63 percent of global energy consumption. They measured performance in four categories (buildings, industry, transportation, and national commitment), and the UK came out number 1.

This is a welcome recognition of our efforts. Smarter energy use brings many benefits, including savings on consumer energy bills, less dependency on energy imports, and air quality improvements. Perhaps most importantly, using less energy lowers operating costs and frees up capital, promoting growth and making the UK economy more competitive. If you’re a business and you care about energy efficiency, the UK’s the place for you.

We do our bit here at the British Embassy in Washington too: our energy-efficient power generator saves enough electricity to power 226 homes for a year and reduces the Embassy’s carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent annually. This is part of our effort to meet wider government objectives of lowering our costs.

Another quick stat to back up the numbers in ACEEE’s report: UK GDP doubled from 1970 to 2011, while energy consumption stayed the same. In stark terms, we use half the amount of energy for the same economic benefit as we did 40 years ago. Being energy efficient is central to maintaining our competitiveness and growing our economy in the future.

We know there is more to do. We are committed to a per capita reduction in energy use of between 31 and 54 percent in order to meet our carbon reduction goals. We have ambitious policy initiatives to support this, including our energy efficiency retrofit program, the Green Deal. Policies like these not only make it easier for consumers to save energy and reduce pollution, they help make UK businesses and households become more competitive in a resource-constrained world.

It’s an honour to be recognised by this first-of-its-kind ACEEE scorecard and we look forward to learning from the experiences of other countries discussed in the study. And we certainly intend to maintain our leadership role and be similarly highly-ranked when the next version is released in 2014.

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

About Peter Westmacott

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO was the British Ambassador to the United States from January 2012 to January 2016. He was born in the village of Edington, Somerset in the…

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO was the British Ambassador to the United States from January 2012 to January 2016.

He was born in the village of Edington, Somerset in the South West of
England in December 1950. He was educated at New College Oxford and
joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972.

After a year in the Middle East Department, and Persian language
training, Ambassador Westmacott was posted to Tehran in 1974. In 1978 he
was loaned to the European Commission in Brussels, before being posted
to Paris from 1980 to 1984.
After 3 years as Chief of Staff to successive Ministers of State in
London, he went to Ankara in 1987, for the first of his two diplomatic
postings to Turkey.
From 1990 to 1993, he was Deputy Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales.
From 1993 to 1997, Ambassador Westmacott was Counsellor for Political
and Public Affairs in Washington, before returning to the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office as Director, Americas.
He joined the Board of the FCO in 2000 as Deputy Under Secretary and returned to Ankara as Ambassador in 2002.
In 2007 he moved to Paris where he served as Ambassador to France until the end of 2011.
Peter married Susie Nemazee in 2001. Between them they have four grown children, Oliver, Laura, Rupert and Safieh.