Boris Johnson has announced a £400m partnership with Bill Gates to boost investment in green technologies ahead of a landmark climate summit.
The Prime Minister told investors at an event at the Science Museum in London that the Government had committed £200 million, with the Microsoft co-founder matching the figure.
In a rambling speech, the PM vowed to make Britain the “Qatar of hydrogen” and said it had a responsibility to act on cutting carbon emissions as “we were the first to knit the deadly tea cosy of CO2" as the birthplace of the industrial revolution.
Mr Johnson is under pressure to make the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow a success – but admitted to Bloomberg that it “was always going to be extremely tough.”
He said the private sector had a pivotal role to play in the battle against climate change and expressed hope that increased investment would see prices go down driven by consumer demand.
“I can deploy billions – with the approval of the Chancellor, obviously – but you in this room, you can deploy trillions,” the PM said.
Channelling ‘Wall Street’s’ Gordon Gekko, he said: “To adapt Gordon Gekko – who may or may not be a hero of anybody in this room – green is good, green is right, green works.”
Mr Johnson said Britain must lead the way on decarbonising as “we were the first to knit the deadly tea cosy of CO2 that is now driving climate change”.
He appeared to cast himself as the Moses of climate change, saying his ten-point plan has been brought “down from [Mount] Sinai”.
The UK is making “big bets” on electric vehicles, gigafactories for battery production and solar power, the PM said – and insisted hydrogen was a major part of the solution.
“To drive a digger or a truck or to hurl a massive passenger plane down a runway, you need what Jeremy Clarkson used to call ‘grunt’ – I think there may be a technical term for it – but ‘grunt’,” he said.
“Hydrogen provides that grunt, so we are making big bets on hydrogen, we are making bets on solar and hydro, and, yes – of course – on nuclear as well, for our baseload.”
Mr Johnson joked that the UK wanted to be the “Klondike of carbon capture” and the “Qatar of hydrogen”, although he admitted Qatar might already hold that claim.
He called for a “green industrial revolution”, which he claimed would be turbocharged by Brexit and his commitment to levelling up the country.
It comes as the Government was set to unveil a major plank of its green agenda with a new strategy to cut emissions from homes.
Brits will be able to get grants of £5,000 to replace their gas boiler with a low carbon heat pump, with an aim to remove existing fossil fuel boilers by 2035.
The scheme will start in April 2022 but will not cover the full cost, leaving families on the hook for thousands of pounds.
It emerged that the funding will cover just 90,000 heat pump installations over three years.
And the PM appears to have stepped back from a total ban on gas boilers amid pressure from Tory MPs.
He told The Sun that "the greenshirts of the boiler police" would not turn up at people’s homes to rip out their boilers.
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