The UK’s House of Lords is to examine whether the need for the power industry to cut its greenhouse gas emissions will hinder the sector’s ability to help lift the European Union out of economic recession.

The House of Lords’ Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy EU Sub-Committee has today launched a new inquiry, called EU energy: decarbonisation and economic competitiveness.

Committee chairman Lord Carter of Coles said: “There is a principal issue of how the cost of energy – as a big cost to industry – can be reduced and kept under control, therefore helping economic growth whilst at the same time decarbonising.

“Energy represents the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions which, by 2050, need to be cut by 80-95 per cent compared to 1990 levels. However, it is also central to the manufacturing process and therefore a major player in helping us climb our way out of the current economic recession. How we marry these two conflicting – but crucial – issues, will be the question at the heart of the committee’s inquiry.”

The committee also plans to examine whether the EU should encourage the development of unconventional gas.