Jeremy Hunt’s green technology strategy pokes Joe Biden 2023

Climate protesters call Rishi Sunak’s government’s carbon capture and offshore wind plans “half-baked” and “dangerous uninspired.”

The first move in reaction to the US’ multibillion-dollar investment in green technology was announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt with a jab at Joe Biden.

The US president’s £348bn green technology tax credits and subsidies prepare the economy for climate change.

In The Times, Mr. Hunt accused Mr. Biden of leading a “distortive” global subsidy race, suggesting that “not subsidy but security” was the long-term solution to protectionism.

“Yes, we will continue to back industries of the future, but, we will target public money in a smart way in areas where the UK has a demonstrated competitive advantage,” Mr. Hunt said. We won’t compete with our partners in a distortive global subsidy competition.

The UK energy secretary proposal includes £20bn for carbon capture technologies and £160m for port infrastructure to develop offshore wind.

Labour called the measures “reheated policies and no fresh investment” and accused the chancellor of “raising the white flag in the global competition for green jobs”.

The MP stated, “Other nations are matching the ambition of the US, UK industry says we must, but Conservative orthodoxy says No.” Britain cannot afford a government that loses this contest.

Former energy minister Chris Skidmore, Conservative climate advisor, called Mr. Hunt’s remarks regarding the Biden administration “regrettable”. He told Times Radio: “We should be looking at what’s occurring in the US as a chance for ourselves.”

Energy minister Grant Shapps said Thursday’s energy security plan and chancellor’s green finance strategy update will detail how the government wants to “fix” dependable electricity.

Together with Great British Nuclear and new green hydrogen production projects, the government is extending £5,000 heat pump insulation incentives to 2028.

Electric car charging station improvements will cost about £380m. The Great British Insulation Programme, rebranded ECO+, will fund 300,000 house upgrades.

Nevertheless, Friends of the Earth (FoE) called some of the proposals “half-baked and half-hearted,” suggesting governments lost the potential to pursue a more radical green industrial policy.

“The stated objective of insulating 300,000 out of [more than] 20 million households is patently insufficient when we have such a badly insulated housing stock,” said Queen Mary University of London senior lecturer in renewable energy Dr. Paul Balcombe.

“With these plans appearing dangerously weak and deficient on climate action, we will be poring through the detail of the updated strategy and are set to act if ministers have fallen short once again,” said FoE policy chief Mike Childs.

Climate experts have cautioned the Sunak administration to halt licensing new oil and gas operations because carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is “yet to be validated at scale” and promotes fossil fuel use.

“We definitely have the potential to store billions if not trillions of pounds worth of other people’s carbon in those locations,” Mr. Shapps said, adding that carbon capture technology is “not there yet.”

“We know you can actually do this,” the cabinet minister told GB News. Technically feasible. It has various implications.”

The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided £300bn in green subsidies through grants, loans, and tax credits. The EU Green Industrial Plan lends firms £200bn to invest in green technologies.

British business leaders expected green technology investment proposals on Thursday. Mr. Hunt said the government would not provide a “full national response” to US and EU initiatives until September.

Jess Ralston, head of energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, asked why the UK would take more than a year to respond to the US Inflation Reduction Act when the EU did it in six months.

She warned this delay might kill investors seeking long-term policy and regulatory predictability. “Where’s the gigafactory and green steel strategy where we trail behind Europe? ”

The government will also respond to Conservative MP Chris Skidmore’s evaluation of net zero by 2050. It claimed it is implementing 23 of Mr. Skidmore’s 25 January report recommendations.