Britain to create £1 bn fund for clean energy technology

"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," Johnson said in a statement ahead of his visit to New York. [Number 10 / Flickr]

Britain will create a £1 billion ($1.25 billion) fund for scientists around the world to create and test new technology to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say on Monday (23 September).

At the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Johnson will call for greater global action to tackle what he will describe as the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. He will also announce a £220 million fund to help save endangered animals like the black rhino, African elephant, snow leopard and Sumatran tiger.

The Ayrton Fund, named after British physicist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton, will consist of aid money for British and foreign scientists and engineers to develop new clean energy technology in partnership with developing countries.

“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,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of his visit to New York.

“This innovative use of aid money benefits all of us and shows how we can use our aid budget to tackle climate change. The Ayrton Fund will back scientists and our world-leading tech industry – reducing emissions in the poorest countries with the help of our home-grown talent.”

The money is intended help developing countries cut emissions through measures like using solar technology, improving large-scale battery technology to replace diesel generators, designing clean stoves to cut firewood use, using low-emission and electric vehicles and cutting emissions from factories in polluting industries like iron and steel.

EU research 'moonshots' focus on climate crisis

The European Commission unveiled five flagship research and innovation “missions” yesterday (4 July), two of which are directly aimed at addressing the climate crisis.

The £220 million biodiversity fund will also invest in projects to tackle illegal wildlife trade by strengthening law enforcement, training anti-poaching rangers and helping communities find alternative ways to make a living.

“We cannot just sit back and watch as priceless endangered species are wiped off the face of the earth by our own carelessness and criminality,” Johnson said.

“We are ramping up UK efforts with a new action plan to save the natural world. And I’d like to see leaders in New York this week pledge to do the same.”

Britain will also commit nearly £40 million to protect and preserve the world’s forests.

Europe ringfences 35% of research budget for clean tech

European Union negotiators struck an agreement late on Tuesday (19 March) to set aside 35% of the bloc’s research funding for climate-friendly technologies, despite ongoing doubts about the overall size of the EU’s future budget after Brexit.

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