Government pledges £1 billion for low-carbon innovation

Written by Our News Team, DigitalAgenda

British scientists and innovators will be able to access up to £1 billion of aid funding to develop and test new technology targeted at tackling climate change in developing countries, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at the UN General Assembly yesterday.

The Prime Minister will launch the innovative new Ayrton Fund to give developing countries access to the latest cutting-edge tech to help reduce their emissions and meet global climate change targets.

British expertise is already at the forefront of clean energy and global efforts to fight climate change. In the UK we have harnessed the power of renewable energy to cut our emissions by over 40 per cent – faster than any other G20 country – while growing our economy by more than two thirds.

British engineers are also helping revolutionise zero-emission transport at home and abroad. Last year, one in five electric vehicles sold in Europe was made in the UK.

The new fund is named after leading British scientist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton – a pioneering physicist, mathematician and inventor whose work contributed to major scientific advancements at the turn of the 20th century, including in electricity.

Her research into the flow of water and air also inspired the Ayrton fan which was used on the Western Front in the First World War to dispel poison gas from British soldiers in the trenches.

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The UK is home to some of the world’s best innovators in clean energy technology. Through the Ayrton Fund they and other scientists from around the world can work in partnership with developing countries to transform their energy sectors and reduce emissions by:

  • providing affordable access to electricity for some of the 1 billion people who are still off the grid, including through innovative solar technology for their homes
  • enhancing large-scale battery technology to replace polluting diesel generators and ensure clean energy can be stored and not lost
  • designing clean stoves like electric pressure cookers for some of the 2.7 billion people who still rely on firewood – with the smoke damaging their health as well as the environment
  • working with factories in major polluting industries like iron and steel, petrochemicals and cement to reduce their carbon output
  • improving the technology behind cooling systems so energy isn’t wasted – residential air conditioning alone is expected to raise global temperatures by 0.5°C in the years ahead; and
  • designing low-emission and electric vehicles to cut pollution and make transport systems cleaner and greener

Speaking ahead of today’s climate change event at the UN, the Prime Minister said:

‘I have always been deeply optimistic about the potential of technology to make the world a better place. If we get this right, future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that we solved by determined global action and the prowess of technology.’


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