Press Release

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised this week that the UK should protect funding for a group of low-carbon technologies, which if developed here, will help to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Without this much-needed government support, a range of essential low-carbon technologies are likely to get stuck before they even take off, said the committee, which went on to conclude that any reduction in current funding levels (£550m per year) would increase the risk of missing carbon budgets and would see the UK losing out on critical opportunities to build a green economy.

The amount the UK spends on energy Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) in comparison to other behind other developed countries is low by a percentage. “The UK should invest in research and development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, technologies in agriculture and industry, 3rd generation solar PV technologies, electricity storage and advanced bio-fuels technologies,” said the committee.

Lastly, the committee found that there is a lack of clarity in the institutional landscape that supports low-carbon innovation. The funding environment is complex and can be difficult for business to navigate. A strengthened institutional framework – with clear objectives, desired outcomes and responsibilities, and improved monitoring and information flows – is required to ensure that public money is well spent and to increase investor confidence, it said.

The challenge for the new government is to set a clear strategy out to 2050 to focus resources on the right suite of low-carbon technologies and guide the various delivery bodies to ensure that public funding delivers long-term environmental and economic benefits.

Professor Julia King, member of the Committee on Climate Change said, “The case for action is strong. With adequate funding, new policies and strengthened delivery arrangements, we would expect UK firms to take leading roles in the development of key technologies, driving down emissions to meet carbon budgets and targets, and fulfilling the new Government’s clear objective to build a low-carbon economy. We urge the Government to put the appropriate low-carbon technology support arrangements in place to unlock environmental and wider economic benefits”.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sir John Beddington said, “Innovation will be enormously important if the UK is to meet its climate change goals, and to do so affordably. We need to develop and deploy the most promising low carbon technologies quickly across all sectors. In times of austerity we must also make sure we invest public money to maximum effect. I welcome the Climate Change Committee’s advice in this critical area.”