Transport and building innovations are the green investment priority, reveals Climate Change leader
To celebrate its first anniversary, Green Angel Syndicate was delighted to welcome Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, to present his organisation’s vision of the future of the UK’s low-carbon economy, a vision in which large corporates, start-ups, private investors, and individual citizens all have a responsibility and a role to play.
Although the UK has made huge progress over recent decades, leading the G7 nations by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 43% since 1990 (largely by phasing out coal-fired power stations), there remains the massive challenge of stubbornly high carbon emissions from transportation, buildings and agriculture.
Action to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector has been poor, with emissions falling just 1% over the last 25 years. Road transport now makes up 28% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. The picture is not much better with residential buildings either, which produce 14% of the UK’s emissions and which only saw emissions reduce by an average of 1.6% per year between 2009 and 2015.
The CCC maintains that making progress in these areas requires a combination of government legislation, big investment from corporates, innovation and start up investment, and individual behaviour change. Chris is keen for the CCC to develop its links with private investment and innovation sectors, from corporate to start-up stages, and is clear about the huge economic opportunities in this area, advocating that the UK follows the example of China which has shrewdly made enormous investment in climate change solutions.
Chris Stark said: “There is a need for an integrated plan. The government needs to better interact with the market to understand behaviour change. Transport is a key area for the future – we may not be ready for a Norway-style approach to electric vehicles – but the technology is coming fast! We also need to prepare for the really disruptive changes to consumer energy consumption that will come with it.”
As investors in commercial solutions to climate change, Green Angel Syndicate welcomes the message that such massive behavioural changes cannot be achieved by government intervention alone but needs a large impetus from the private sector, at all levels. “Chris Stark’s message about the need to transform the transport and built environment sectors was hugely timely and impactful, and it is in line with Green Angel Syndicate’s investment priorities. We recognise our unique responsibility in the wider UK climate change campaign, to drive the vital innovation process by investing at the crucial start-up stage,” said Green Angel Syndicate’s Director, Nick Lyth. “As Chris himself puts it, as the only angel syndicate in the UK specialising in support for the technology innovation in green sectors, ‘Green Angel Syndicate is at the fulcrum for the change we need’.”
For an in-depth report and analysis of Chris Stark’s address, read our blog.