Only by forced innovation may we avoid CO2-taxes

Denmark will only ever reach its climate goals without CO2-taxes if there is support of innovation for all kinds of green companies.

By Jacob Becker-Christensen, Director of the industry portal, LINX.

Chimney smoke

No fees, but new technology through research and innovation. This is how Denmark should reach its 70 % CO2 reduction by 2030. That is the essence of the speech held by the prime minister at the anniversary of the Danish Chamber of Commerce in September 2020.

And yes, new technology must – and will – play an enormous role in solving the climate crisis. But technological development on such a monumental scale, and within a single decade, must be pushed and forced into existence. It demands burning determination by politicians and a potent financial fuel.

Meanwhile, it is imperative to look closely into our public innovation system. Presently, it focuses primarily on large multi-million projects through funding applications that are both complicated and time consuming. In short, it is organized to construct grand, elegant bridges across the chasms of innovation, towards large and ambitious technological goals.

Meanwhile, what many companies want is just a simple plank to place over the muddy ditch they have in front them right now. Innovation in pocket format, a simple tool.

One way to deliver this is through innovation platforms – dedicated organizations that help companies to gain access to micro-financing for micro-innovation in partnerships between companies and knowledge institutions within given themes.

Both things will make it easier and less risky for companies to go the green way. Unfortunately, innovation platforms are currently greatly underrated as a remedy.

The association LINX, which I am heading, operates exactly as an innovation platform. It is a long-term stake created by Innovation Fund Denmark with many members – small as well as large companies. Especially, the small ones are extremely happy to get innovation served in a toolbox format, through small steps and via collaborations.

This can be achieved with limited budgets, but grants are an absolute necessity for all parties. And the application process can and must be made easy and quick, especially for small companies. They have neither the time nor the experience to embark on something large and complicated.

Micro-innovation works. It has succeeded time and time again in LINX. Why do we not use it more? It can be said very succinctly: if we do not wish to make use of CO2-taxes then a rearmed and enhanced innovation system is the only road towards new, climate salving technology.

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