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Innovation Zero 2024 – Sustainability Conference

Innovation Zero 2024 – Sustainability Conference


It's an honor to be here today.

I stand here acutely aware that the world feels like a very different place than it did when I was elected in 2019.

We have experienced a global pandemic and the largest European war-induced energy crisis since World War II.

We face heightened geopolitical risks in some parts of the world, and despite significant progress in many areas with respect to net zero, global pollution continues to increase. Masu.

That's why, now more than ever, we need everyone in this room to do what you do best: innovate.

I'm actually very excited about the UK's role in the energy transition.

Among the top 20 major countries, Japan is actually the first to halve emissions since 1990, and achieved this while growing its economy by 80%.

And we've achieved this in no small part because of the most successful partnership between government and business in modern history.

Through market mechanisms, such as the government contracting for difference scheme we introduced in 2014, innovation and competition have been able to drive our progress in renewable energy.

This is not surprising as the UK has long been known for its innovation ecosystem.

We have world-class universities, strong capital markets, the rule of law, and strong intellectual property protection.

The UK has less than 1% of the world's population but accounts for 14% of the world's most cited academic publications.

From our people to our culture to our capital, we have many strengths that make us confident that we can play an important role in the global challenge of climate change.

Just as Olympia is well known for its horses, the UK is also becoming very well known for its well-kept unicorn stables.

The UK is home to 43 unicorn startups, each valued at $1 billion.

This will make the UK one of the world's biggest innovators, along with the US, China and India.

And I want to thank everyone in this room, as well as people across the country.

Just look at the DESNZ stand here and it's bursting with British brainpower, including some of the businesses supported through our billion net zero innovation portfolio.

Theres Mission Zero Technologies' direct air capture system captures CO2 from the atmosphere.

There's ERMDolphin, which produces green hydrogen from floating offshore wind.

Open Climate Fix also uses AI and real-time grid and weather data to predict local solar generation.

This is just a few of the great businesses on display today and the ones that really should be at the forefront of people's minds.

Having spent time in the City and also worked at the Ministry of Finance, I have seen both the good and the bad of government attempts to support innovation.

I'm a big advocate of our world-class EIS and SEIS schemes, which show that tax breaks can be effective in stimulating investment.

And I am pleased to be working with the Prime Minister on reforming the research and development tax credit, which now includes data and cloud computing spending for the first time.

We have also made our capital allowances one of the most generous in the developed world.

And I believe that in a world of increasing supply chain risks, governments have a role to play in addressing supply chain constraints. That's why we launched his Billion Green Industry Growth Accelerator.

It also targeted investments in future priority technologies such as fusion energy, small modular reactors, carbon capture, and hydrogen.

But ultimately, as everyone in this room knows, government spending will always outpace the private sector.

Since 2010, the UK has attracted $300 billion in low-carbon private investment. I'm very proud of that.

In fact, since I've been in this position since September, I've overseen $24 billion in the clean energy sector alone.

While governments have a role to play in preparing industries and populations for the future, we should remember that our primary role is to remove barriers and create the right market conditions for capital to flow.

And we've done more to attract investment and increase our competitive advantage, but when it comes to people's cost of living, whether it's cars or boilers, we're giving people more time. You can see that I chose that.

That's because we don't want to force our products on British consumers; we want them to make products that they choose.

Products that make essential items cheaper or make life easier. Aspirational product, not disgusting.

So the government can and will play our part. For example, Mr Ive has made support for households wanting to install heat pumps one of the most generous in Europe, and is investing billions of pounds in improving electric car charging points.

Butwell will only reach the required level of technology adoption if the product is desired by consumers.

That's why the Prime Minister and I have taken an approach that dials up where the government can help, but avoids unreasonable costs to households and gives more time to introduce emerging technologies.

Therefore, the government plays a role in supporting the market environment.

But let me challenge some big falsehoods that I am told in this role.

First, everything needed for net zero has already been invented and all governments need to do is implement it.

To this I say no.

Considering the pace of technological change we've seen in the past decade alone, it's amazing how many times a week we hear about it.

But we need to leave room for new innovations that we don't even begin to imagine.

Second, you will use less energy in the future.

Again, I strongly doubt this is the case, especially with the rise of data centers. That's why, post-Ive, we're launching a historic expansion of nuclear power, taking steps to boost the offshore wind sector, and insisting on more. We also need gas power plants.

And finally, what businesses want most from government is certainty. I've heard that companies need to know who is buying their products, in what quantities, and when.

But let me tell you one thing: we are faced with a fork in the road, and the first path is one we do not want to take.

It is the setting of increasing and narrowing targets by which governments determine production volumes and prices. There, a centrally planned net-zero leviathan will crush our glorious corporate economy.

But the second is that we can live with some degree of uncertainty, recognizing that uncertainty is one of the key drivers of risk and product development in competing for consumers. It's a living situation.

The second path will keep the lights on for British homes and businesses, keeping costs low and giving us scope to work to reduce emissions.

After all, I'm proud of the UK's record in reducing emissions, but our emissions account for less than 1% of the world's emissions, and our greater contribution to tackling climate change will come from innovation. Probably.

I believe it's a great opportunity for everyone in the room and for the UK. Not only to save carbon, but to have a dynamic market that offers growth and better prices and a product that can be exported around the world.

The British have all the ingredients needed to achieve this historic goal: skills, investment, infrastructure and, of course, innovators.

That's why I'm optimistic that we can play a role in extraordinary global challenges.

It's not achieved by imposing restrictions on people's lives, costs they can't afford, or deadlines industries can't meet, but by strong, sustained innovation driven by people just like you. .

thank you.




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