The government has shaken up the UK research system. But fossil fuels, not low-carbon technologies, still seem to be in the driving seat. I don’t want to argue against health R&D. It’s clearly a major priority. But decarbonising our energy system must also be another, especially in the rapidly-closing window of opportunity we have to avoid catastrophic global warming. Tackling climate change is, in all seriousness, the fight of our lives (the word “moonshot” doesn’t cover the half of it). Of course, dealing with climate change isn’t just about R&D. Indeed, it can feel silly to be talking about how the UK should invest more in low carbon innovation when there is currently a ban on something as basic as onshore wind (a British innovation of the 1880s). There were, for example, some wonderfully warm words from energy minister Claire Perry about the Q-Bot insulation robot at the Parliamentary Sustainable Energy Group conference last week. But it did also feel like a distraction from last month’s Committee on Climate Change report, which criticised the government’s “shocking” lack of action when it comes to simple and low cost options like onshore wind, home insulation and planting trees.
Guardian 16th July 2018 read more »