Speaking at the Energy Institute’s annual gathering, Sir David, the UK Foreign Secretary's Special Representative for Climate Change, spokes about the importance of clean energy innovation in tackling the challenge of climate change.
Sir David outlined the UK’s current commitments regarding energy and climate change legislation. He reiterated the long-term goal, as stated in the COP21 agreement, to hold the increase in global average temperatures to well below a 2C degree increase above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C degrees above pre-industrial levels.
He described the low-carbon transition as the ‘greatest opportunity of our age’, highlighting the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
In 2014, more renewable energy was installed worldwide than fossil fuel.
And in the UK this activity generated more than $100 billion turnover and employed 238,500 workers during 2014.
Having been appointed as chief scientific advisor to the UK Government in 2000, one of his first actions was to initiate a report, engaging 120 scientific, engineering and social science experts, to analyse the risks of climate change, and make proposals for action to manage these risks.
Following this, an all-party agreement was formed and has remained the axis of the UK Government’s action on climate change.
In 2013, Sir David was invited back into Government as Tory’s climate change adviser to develop the Global Apollo Programme – later renamed Mission Innovation and launched on the first day of COP21 in Paris last December.
At this year’s Melchett Lecture, Sir David spoke of the achievements of Mission Innovation to date, saying that 20 nations have joined Mission Innovation, all of which have committed to doubling clean energy research, development and demonstration spend by 2020 to some $US30 billion.
In support of economic growth, energy access and security, and an urgent and lasting response to global climate change, Mission Innovation aims to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation.
This, he said, will be key in achieving performance breakthroughs and cost reduction to provide affordable and reliable clean energy solutions that will revolutionise world energy systems.
The Melchett Award is named after one of the first institute presidents, Sir Alfred Mond, later to become Lord Melchett and chairman of ICI.
It is awarded to individuals for outstanding work, whether in research, administration, construction or other professional activity, involving the scientific preparation or use of energy.
It was instituted in 1930 and is presented biannually.