Net-zero is possible: Key industries need to harness tech

Stephen Phipson of Make UK

Resilience First in partnership with Intel have published a new white paper on ‘Decarbonisation and the role of technology’. This outlines how technology and innovation can be harnessed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and accelerate the path to net-zero by 2050.

The paper shows that urbanisation, aviation, rail, manufacturing and defence can counter the threats and instability posed by climate change through resilience and sustainability best practice. 

These industries all face significant challenges to reducing their emissions but are well-positioned to pursue and incorporate technological development. 

Its key recommendations include:

  • Investment in innovation to drive technologies that accelerate carbon-emission reductions.
  •  Investment in job upskilling and employment transition.
  • Increased cross-silo working in order to deploy faster, more resilient and more universal technological solutions.

The paper includes contributions from experts at the UK Ministry of Defence, Intel, LSE, Make UK, Arup, Ernst & Young, among others, and follows on from a webinar series hosted by Resilience First and Intel that explored the same topics.

Seth Schultz

Seth Schultz, CEO, The Resilience Shift says, “There are tangible and concrete steps that industry leaders can take today to reduce emissions and build a more resilient way of working. We cannot place our hopes on future solutions, we need to start building those solutions with the tech and brain power available to us right now.”

In his forward to the white paper, Adrian Criddle, VP EMEA, Intel Corporation comments, “Intel is pleased to team up with Resilience First to help create this important whitepaper on decarbonisation and the role of technology… We see technology as being an essential component in helping achieve net-zero carbon emissions across multiple sectors

In his submission to the report, lieutenant general Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE, climate change and sustainability non-executive director for defence at UK MoD, says, “While some may not think it is relevant to defence, climate change will impact on world stability and geopolitical relationships. As a global leader, the UK should be concerned and act to increase stability and peace as well as reduce its own emissions to a minimum, without damaging its ability to fulfil its purpose.

“The challenge that defence faces is not inconsiderable. The Ministry of Defence’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions mostly from military equipment and purchased energy respectively represent half of central government’s total. So, it is completely clear that if the MoD does not achieve net zero, the UK Government cannot either, which is clearly unacceptable.”

In the technology sector, Jane Toogood, sector chief executive, Johnson Matthey, says, “Innovation will play a significant role in enabling the UK and the world to achieve net zero. However there are plenty of technologies available today that can help to move the needle and mitigate climate change, so it is critical that governments and societies deploy these technologies and follow a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach.”

Looking at manufacturing, Stephen Phipson CBE, CEO, Make UK, says, “The industrial sector is at the forefront of wealth creation, prosperity and social value across the globe. It is also at the forefront of solving the societal challenges that all countries face through science, engineering and innovation. As new technologies have catapulted the sector forward industrial decarbonisation is the next frontier and one that the sector must rise to meet given the scale of climate change that we face.” 

The full report can be accessed here.

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