The UK is being too slow in transforming to a low carbon economy and a major energy efficiency drive would be the quickest and most effective way to get back on track.
This is the conclusion of the CBI's 'climate change tracker' - a set of 24 targets against which it measures the UK's performance.
The business lobby group says the country is on track with just four of these targets - improving the planning system, supporting new nuclear power, moving forward on the EU emissions trading scheme, and taking steps to reduce the impact of the aviation and shipping industries.
The collapse of the Copenhagen talks and little hope of global agreements makes national plans even more important, argues the CBI.
Over the next six months it wants to see government put aside a piecemeal approach to energy efficiency and publish a delivery plan to help the UK save energy at home and the workplace.
It also claims more effort is needed to turn public appetite for a global climate deal into consumer action on energy efficiency.
In return, businesses should measure and monitor their energy use more and take steps to reduce energy consumption.
They should also engage employees, customers and their supply chain to promote energy efficiency.
Richard Lambert, CBI director-general said: "Following the disappointing outcome to the Copenhagen negotiations, the immediate emphasis must now be on those actions that don't require global agreement and that bring economic benefits in their own right.
"Improved energy efficiency can take us a long way towards meeting our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and at the same time will bring significant economic benefits to the country.
"But our latest Climate Change Tracker shows that the UK is lagging on progress in this area, and that much more must be done to drive forward change.
"The Government's recently announced boiler scrappage scheme is a step in the right direction.
"But rather than piecemeal plans to tackle energy waste, we are calling for the Government to publish a low-carbon delivery plan to help the UK save energy.
"With £15m a day being wasted on energy by businesses and households every day, we need easy-to-access support and incentives to encourage improved insulation in homes and offices, a switch to more fuel-efficient cars, and other energy savings steps.
"It is also disappointing that the Government has undermined a successful scheme to encourage energy-intensive users, such as steel makers, to cut emissions by reducing the Climate Change Levy discount in the Pre-Budget Report."
Return to green news headlines
View Green News Archive