According to an Energy White Paper published last week, the UK will provide funding and research initiatives to support innovative technologies reducing vehicle emissions.
The British government will promote the development of new technologies from the initial concept to the point of commercial use. The aim is to make sure that innovative ideas develop fast enough to help tackle climate change in time. The UKs objective is thus to overcome the barriers new technologies face in displacing existing energy sources, which are usually cheaper and benefit from economies of scale, but cause a heavy environmental burden.
This is a key message from the UK Energy White Paper published on 23 May highlighting the importance of innovation and research for raising energy efficiency and complying with EU-wide emissions reduction limits for the transport sector. In February, the European Commission announced a Community-wide reduction of CO2 emissions to 120 g/km for new cars by 2012. Earlier this year, the UK had already announced an even stricter limit of 100 g/km as part of its long-term strategy.
--image1--Although the UK government supports the Commissions move to introduce mandatory fuel efficiency standards, it favours a more long-term oriented approach that would lead to cost- and environmental effectiveness, as well as clarity for the industry.
The Low Carbon Innovation Strategy
More specifically, the government sets out the following actions in its Energy White Paper:
Contribute with an additional £5 million annually to the low carbon transport theme of the "Energy Technologies Institute" a joint public-private sector venture to be launched shortly, to accelerate the development of secure, reliable and cost-effective low carbon energy technologies
Help finance and develop a new "Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform" with up to £30 million from 2008/09, for UK technology research aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable technology, with a possible extension afterwards
Provide initial funding of £20 million to promote low carbon vehicle development, including small fleet demonstrations to open up early markets for innovative technologies
"This has the potential to be one of the Government's biggest interventions to tackle transport emissions. We will therefore push for an ambitious and realistic long-term target that recognises the importance of tackling climate change and of giving industry a clear signal to develop and implement new technologies," the Energy White Paper states.
Transport accounts for a quarter of UK domestic energy use and carbon dioxide emissions with road vehicles being responsible for 93% of these emissions. Under an EU-wide legislative framework to raise fuel efficiency the country counts on saving between 1.8 to 4.1 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020.