Innovate UK Net Zero Review 2022: our Clean Future Economy

Innovate UK launched its Net Zero Review 2022, a report reflecting on the big areas of opportunity for Net Zero innovation in the UK – what has been achieved so far, where we need to be in 15 years, and how we might get there.

2022 has been an incredible year, we slowly emerged from Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, and it felt that our lives were perhaps returning to normal, whatever that now means. Unfortunately, the new normal most of us had in mind is starkly different to our reality. I feel that many of us had hope that the strong ties and foundations we built to tackle the pandemic could be translated into action for Net Zero, the other great societal challenge of our time.

Sadly, just weeks ago and days before COP27, the UN’s environment agency warned us there is “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place”. Their latest report analysed the gap between the CO2 cuts pledged by countries and the cuts needed to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C, the internationally agreed target; the current pledges only make 2.5C achievable.

The news of this report came just as I had joined a meeting with Net Zero colleagues working across different sectors, so we reflected on what this meant for the work we were doing. Are we doing enough? What more could we do? Are our programmes making the impact we desperately need them to?

Since then, we’ve all watched COP27 with hope for firm commitment from global leaders to 1.5C which for the most part we didn’t get. However, for the first time, we now have a loss and damage fund for those nations most impacted by the detrimental impacts of climate change. Whilst we didn’t get everything we needed from this COP, this certainly is a step in the right direction.

At this same event, Innovate UK launched its Net Zero Review 2022. A report reflecting on the big areas of opportunity for Net Zero innovation in the UK – what’s been achieved so far, where we need to be in 15 years, and how we might get there.

Innovate UK has set out a clear vision for the UK to prosper from being the economy that transitions fastest to net zero and this vision is backed up by the £1.2billion commitment to invest in Net Zero innovation from 2022-25 across key sectors such as mobility, make and use, heat, power and agriculture and food. This is an exciting and much-needed commitment for industry across the UK – for both innovation challenge holders and solution providers.

Innovate UK KTN will be a key stakeholder in the delivery of these ambitious programmes, and we look forward to working with our colleagues at Innovate UK, industry, investors and the research community in bringing this vision to life and accelerating our transition to a net zero economy.

By Emma McKenna, Head of Net Zero, Innovate UK KTN

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Emma McKenna

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