Frequently Asked Questions
How do you plan on using, implementing and fuelling the science-based target approach?
Scientific knowledge will be at the heart of what we do and science-based targets will inform the challenges we address. We will continue to apply this to ourselves as well. Of course, we will have a challenge in managing the energy efficiency of a 222-year-old Grade-I listed building.
What can be done to accelerate technological innovation and adoption to get to net zero in time?
This is a very important point and one of the key reasons we felt a centre like this was needed. The scaling of the really big innovations takes 10-15 years in normal times. These are not normal times and we need to accelerate the path to scale.
To enable this we will create stronger networks amongst stakeholders, acting ourselves to create links that will speed up growth. Those links will be used to address the technical, financial, policy, business and societal hurdles that slow down the growth of good solutions, including those that are already available.
Will the centre primarily focus on innovation concerning technology/energy or will it also support conservation/preservation projects?
We will do more than technical innovation, we will work on all aspects on innovation required to deliver a positive impact. Any idea that can be usefully applied is fair game and mostly necessary to make a big and lasting impact. Time will tell whether we end up doing conservation and preservation, but it is likely, since two of the founders are working on aspects of natural capital.
What other perspectives do you hope to attract in addition to young people and the firms involved (engineering, technology, data, finance and law)?
We will build out the partnership, but do not want to be prescriptive. Our rules are that any partner needs to be serious and fully committed to addressing climate change, willing to work in a completely open innovation environment across disciplines and sectors. Having said that there are clear gaps in the partnership and we seek to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
What approaches will you take to encourage real-world application of research outcomes and the uptake of the findings of research by business?
The centre is working on the precise form this will take, but the idea is to bring together varied stakeholders around clear and well articulated multi-sector challenges and help them to formulate the actions they will need to take to by bringing the science (and engineering) that they will need to the table. Catalysing innovation in this way is a key element in what the centre is offering.
Do you have plans to look at innovation/solutions through large companies to encourage supply chain action?
Yes. Our founders are all keen to do so and we see evidence of activity and desire amongst many businesses to do so as well. The centre will have served its purpose if it is able to successfully help such organisations to clearly articulate the challenges they will address through dialogue between knowledge experts, policymakers, the public and business.
Is there a plan to have a fund to support any startups and is The Greenhouse at Imperial connected to the centre?
The Greenhouse, our accelerator programme is one of the centre's first offerings. You see us in transit between the centre at the Ri and what we are doing at Imperial. It will become one very soon. We provide funding for the startups in The Greenhouse and we have a community of wonderful early-stage investors that will help the best startups to get the investment they need.
Do you have any plans for using the arts as a means of engaging the wider public with your work? Concerts,exhibitions,creating, writing, etc.
The Grantham Institute began doing this in 2019, it was a great success and something we will continue to pursue. The ability of the arts to get to the crux of an issue with an emotional punch is something that the scientific community has lacked. The Royal Institution will bring its experience with public engagement to the project and we hope that will include exhibitions.
How will the CCCI encompass business models and social innovation, social research and practice for behaviour change and a just transition?
Social acceptability is a key component to the development of innovations that will stand the test of time. We will engage with the public to determine what innovations will gain traction and which will not. We have been awarded funding to do precisely this with regard to methods of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Will the centre focus on any other environmental pollution issues alongside carbon emissions?
We will focus on greenhouse gases, but it is inevitable that co-pollutants will present themselves. So, we are supporting a startup that removes small particles from tyre wear that pollute our cities, because as we move to electric vehicles the additional weight of such vehicles creates greater tyre wear.
Is the centre aiming to commercialise its innovations?
We will not commercialise our own innovations, this is for our partners to do. Our role is to enable the innovations to happen by bringing the right actors together and facilitating the process of innovation.
How will the centre encourage women to join the climate change conversation as scientists, leaders or in other capacities?
Women have played key roles in taking action on climate change. We hope this came across at the round table session of the launch event. From our own experience, startups founded or co-founded by women have had exceptional levels of success and some of this has been recorded, which you can view on this Action Plan document from the London Sustainable Development Commission. We will be encouraging participation across the board and we are signalling this by our founding director being a woman.
How can you avoid "reinventing the wheel" i.e. building on top of good practices in the UK and beyond?
We acknowledge that we do not know everything that has been done, but we have extensive networks and knowledge to build on. The last thing we want to do is waste time and effort doing things that have been done before. We ourselves will make public what we are doing and what we have discovered, to help avoid duplication of our own work.
How do we avoid picking winners in the quest to decarbonise, especially when there are so many vested interests (e.g push to electrify everything)?
Make sure that we set policies that correctly address the challenges before us. In principle, good policies enable good innovation and avoid picking winners. In practice writing, such policies is difficult in and of itself, and vulnerable to lobbying. The centre is intended to be a home for new and emerging innovations and provide them with a greater voice in policymaking than is currently the case.