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Charlie Mercer: UK Autumn Budget - Jam Tomorrow for Climate Tech?

Charlie Mercer: UK Autumn Budget - Jam Tomorrow for Climate Tech?

Startup Coalition deputy policy director Charlier Mercer becomes our first return guest on the show - to decode Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement and what it means for climate tech.

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Welcome back to Wicked Problems. Despite sounding like we’re auditioning to be the new noise of the TARDIS, we hope our conversation with Startup Coalition deputy policy director, and friend of the show, Charlie Mercer is easier to listen to than running a key over the bass strings of a piano.1

Charlie helped us decode the implications for the climate tech sector of this week’s UK “Autumn Statement”, which is not a new line of outerwear but a fancy name for the mini-budget unveiled this week by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.2

Some of the highlights worth noting:

  • £960 million by 2030 for a “green industries growth accelerator” - calling out offshore wind, hydrogen, CCUS, power grids, and nuclear. (Which makes us wonder how much of that turns out to be new money.)

  • £2 billion for the automotive sector, mostly for “zero emissions investments”

  • £500 million for AI - some of which could find its way to climate tech applications

  • progress on removing barriers for pension funds to invest in climate tech and work better with VCs - Charlie points out that a 5% shift in UK pension investing would be £50 billion.

  • ensuring - thanks to Startup Coalition lobbying - that some 5,000 UK businesses didn’t wind up falling short of qualifying for R&D tax credits

  • promise of future clarity on “smart data” - which could inspire a whole range of new companies using that opted-in data for new ideas: like using smart electricity meter data to help manage demand and create “Virtual Power Plants” that are becoming a hot topic in the US.

Charlie’s reaction on LinkedIn.

And CarbonBrief had an excellent summary of the climate implications as well, worth checking out.

We’ll be back Saturday to bring you me and

speaking with Ulrich Seitz, founder of The Climate Adaptation Project, making the case that it’s time for a lot more money to flow towards climate tech adaptation.

Get that and other episodes here or on




Thanks for listening. We’re off to get some Strepsils.


“The sound was generated using a broken down piano frame. ‘It was standing up in the corner of the workshop with its strings exposed and I scraped a front-door key down the bass string. We recorded that and added loads of feedback.’” Happy 60th Anniversary, Doctor Who. (Radio Times)


I did pronounce that name carefully.

Wicked Problems
Wicked Problems - Climate Tech Conversations (Subscriber Feed)
A show about climate tech - the intersection of people, politics, technology, and capital that will help shape the future. And whether you'd want to live in it.