techUK urges the Prime Minister to stay the course on net zero
The net zero transition is going to be the economic opportunity of the 21st century which is why techUK is concerned the government seems to be pushing back some of the medium-term targets on electric vehicles, behaviour change and buildings.
This sends the worst possible signal to investors, the business community and the tech sector who have already suffered years of regulatory uncertainty and confused signals. While businesses themselves have set ambitious targets, we need the right signals supported by regulatory and policy certainty to make the investment case and commit to developing long term R&D. Some industries only have 1 or 2 investment cycles before 2050, and many will simply defer the (much needed) R&D efforts or divert their investment away from the UK.
After the speech there were some shoots of encouragement however. Reforms to energy grid connections by speeding up how long it takes to get plugged in to the grid is very welcome, as renewable energy projects as well as enabling infrastructure (like mass EV charging) have been given ludicrously long timeframes to get electricity.
techUK is also keen to learn more about the announcement of a Green Future’s Fellowship grant. This endowment of £150 million will support leading scientists and engineers in developing practical green technologies and climate change solutions over the next five years. Such grants are essential for high-risk investment in innovation projects.
Tech has a unique role as an enabler of economy wide decarbonisation and we know the sector is a heavy user of energy. At techUK we’re advocating for ‘tech led decarbonisation’ to reach the estimated 20% emissions reduction that can be enabled by tech, but to achieve this we need to scale the export-ready clean-tech solutions or risk losing the early mover advantage to the US and Europe.
techUK therefore urges the government to think twice, especially as we approach the Autumn Statement and global COP 28 climate talks.
Responding to the expected policy announcement, techUK CEO Julian David said:
To make the long term investments necessary to achieve net zero businesses need a clear and stable policy environment. Weakening targets sends the wrong signals, deters investment and turns heads towards countries with more stable regulatory environments. It places the UK's prospects as a clean tech leader at serious risk.
The government's own commissioned review said the net zero transition is the economic opportunity of the 21st century, and the economic benefits will be mostly felt by countries who move early and encourage the most R&D and innovation.
Making the UK a clean tech leader in the face of increasing scepticism, the US IRA and EU Green Deal is a key focus of our upcoming techUK Tech and Net Zero conference (5 October).
This year’s conference will be focused on operationalising net zero for tech firms, looking forward to COP28, and the sectors’ role in decarbonising the wider economy.
The agenda includes:
- COP 28 keynote: UK priorities
- What does COP 28 and the global stocktake mean for tech?
- The tech sector’s own net zero journey
- Policy and regulatory roundtables
- Making the UK a clean tech leader in the face of increasing scepticism, the US IRA and EU Green Deal
- Tech sector decarbonisation roundtables
- Building a resilient tech ecosystem
- AI and Climate
Tickets are free for members - find full details and the registration link here.
To learn more about what techUK is doing on climate please visit our Climate Action Hub or get in touch on the details below.
techUK - Committed to Climate Action
Visit our Climate Action Hub to learn more or to register for regular updates.
By 2030, digital technology can cut global emissions by 15%. Cloud computing, 5G, AI and IoT have the potential to support dramatic reductions in carbon emissions in sectors such as transport, agriculture, and manufacturing. techUK is working to foster the right policy framework and leadership so we can all play our part. For more information on how techUK can support you, please visit our Climate Action Hub and click ‘contact us’.