Wednesday, 13th August 2014
UK: Innovate to Accumulate: the Government's Approach to Low Carbon Innovation
Source: House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (UK)
Innovative low carbon technologies such as bioenergy, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage will be necessary to achieve the UK’s legally binding 2020 and 2050 carbon emissions targets and the Government is right to play an active role in facilitating their development. At the moment however, there is a mismatch between the resources allocated by the Government to support companies and its level of ambition in this complex policy area. The Government’s main tool for this policy is the public-private body, the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG). Unfortunately the LCICG’s governance is muddled, with an unhelpful mix of core and associate members and inadequate transparency on decision-making and information sharing. We were surprised and disappointed to hear witnesses express continual frustration at the lack of consultation and publicity surrounding the LCICG’s new framework and its launch. A lack of staff for the LCICG Secretariat may contribute to the ineffective communication between LCICG and broader innovation partners. Investment decisions by the Government and LCICG may also be clouded by a lack of responsive, timely metrics. For example, such metrics would enable the performance of different innovations to be compared and evaluated.
DECC has admitted that this lack of staff resource also prevents it from engaging fully on European issues that are of direct relevance to UK innovators. These issues include the ability to shape multi-billion euro funding programmes, help UK innovators access EU funding, and help shape EU standards on low carbon products such as energy efficiency devices and heat pumps. DECC and the LCICG therefore need to deliver better support on EU issues for UK innovators. At a global level DECC and the LCICG could do more to help UK innovators benefit more from their intellectual property internationally, to help to build greater confidence for potential investors to support innovation in low carbon technologies.
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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.
A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.
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