A number of businesses and organisations have signed a letter urging ministers to set a specific target for restricting carbon emissions from power generation.

The plea which was published in an open letter and addressed to Chancellor George Osborne, states that it wants a target for how emissions should be curbed by 2030 because a failure to show commitment to reducing carbon emissions may harm the economy and their commercial prospects.

Mr Osborne has outlined plans to get energy from gas beyond 2030, but companies and investors have joined with trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies to warn the Chancellor that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in UK electricity infrastructure.

They argue that the introduction of a carbon intensity target for the energy sector would provide investors with the long term confidence needed to transform the electricity market and promote wider economic growth.

The letter that was signed by 50 businesses warns that uncertainty over the Government’s commitment to low-carbon power generation is harming the development of green businesses.

It states:

“The Government’s perceived commitment to the low carbon transition is being undermined by recent statements calling for unabated gas in the power sector beyond 2030 and the absence of a specific carbon intensity target.”

The letter also points to a recent report by business group the CBI, which estimates that while a third of UK growth in 2011/2012 came from green businesses, policy uncertainty could lose the UK £400 million in exports in 2014/2015 alone.

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group which co-ordinated the move, said:

“The message of this letter is loud and clear: we must put an end to any political uncertainty surrounding the UK’s energy future and start unleashing the billions of pounds of overdue investment which will deliver new growth for our economy.”

Asda, Aviva, British American Tobacco, EDF, Microsoft, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, Philips, Sky and the Co-operative are among the businesses to have signed the letter.