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The government must create a new high-risk laboratory to research cutting edge green technology and hand out tax breaks for businesses that replace gas boilers with heat pumps, according to a leading Tory think tank.

Onward, which is run by a large number of Conservative MPs and party grandees, today said in a new report that the UK is lagging behind in “the development of technologies likely to be critical to decarbonisation in the next thirty years”.

Boris Johnson’s government has a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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The landmark United Nations Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next month is being billed as one of the last opportunities to broker a global deal to keep global climate change to less than 1.5 degrees.

Onward said the government needed to pull policy levers to spur more private sector research and development (R&D) spending in green technologies.

The think tank says this could be done by direct subsidies to labs researching carbon capture technology and tax breaks to businesses that replace their boilers with more environmentally friendly heat pumps.

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The report also suggests creating a National Energy Laboratory to “conduct high-risk net zero research to overcome energy system challenges” that is modelled on similar agencies in Germany and the US.

Ted Christie-Miller, co-author of the report and head of carbon removals at BeZero Carbon, said: “The government needs to consciously create the incentives and build the institutions necessary to create an explosion in the R&D, commercialisation and diffusion of key net zero technologies.

“If we don’t act fast, we will pay the price in higher emissions, lower competitiveness, greater societal disruption and higher costs for consumers and taxpayers.”

By Stefan Boscia

Source: City AM

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