UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged £316m ($250m) towards the green energy and technology sector at COP28, which is currently being held at the UAE. 

The money will go to green energy projects around the world in an effort to speed up the transition to clean energy. 

Around £185m of this funding will be diverted to planned UK-led Climate Innovation Pull Facility. This facility, originally announced by the UK government in July, will create investment and market demand for climate projects in developing countries. 

The facility will achieve this via pull mechanisms, which in public financing means closing viability gaps and inducing market demand for specific solutions- in this case clean energy infrastructure. 

Furthermore, £40m of this fund will go towards green energy technology partnerships across Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific regions. These will include partnerships in solar, energy storage and smart grids. 

All of these investments are intended to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, clarified Sunak, stating that the time for promises was over instead calling for an “era of action”. 

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By GlobalData

“We know that the technologies and innovations we need to protect the planet are at our fingertips, from the mighty offshore wind farms powering the UK to the solar energy transforming electricity in Africa,” he said, “The transition to net zero should make us all safer and better off. It must benefit, not burden ordinary families.” 

But is technology holistically good for the environment? 

SaaS provider Ad Signal’s CEO Tom Dunning raised some concerns over the rush to create more tech solutions for the environment. 

“While technology plays a central role in society, it’s crucial to recognise its environmental impact, especially the substantial carbon emissions from data centres and video-driven network traffic,” he stated. 

Dunning noted that around 3.7% of global CO₂ emissions are generated by data centres and network traffic, which he stated is a higher rate than the aviation industry. 

COP28’s own website has a lower carbon setting that enables users to limit their carbon output whilst using the website by decreasing the number of videos and images displayed. 

In its 2023 Q3 ESG sentiment polls, research analyst company GlobalData found that only 37% of respondents knew if their company had an ESG policy. 

Over half (53%) of respondents stated that for most companies ESG policies were treated solely as marketing exercises.