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30 March 2022

Carbon pitch captures the imagination at competition

A policy aiming to reduce the cost of carbon capture and encourage more UK companies to utilise the technology was declared winner of a policy pitch competition run by the School of Politics and Economics.

The winning team, L-R: Salomé, Vedant and Marta. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Carbon Capture and Storage, proposed by Salomé, Marta, and Vedant, was described as “very creative” by the judges, who also praised the quality of presentation and the depth of knowledge of team members.

The 2022 SPE Policy Pitch competition had an environmental theme and entrants were asked to focus their pitches on policies that would help the UK meets its COP26 carbon commitments.

Dozens of entries were received and a shortlist created before the top five were asked to pitch their policies to a judging panel - Dr Tomas Maltby, Dr Francesca Vantaggiato, and Dr Mitya Pearson - at a special event on 23 March.

The winning policy proposed the introduction of a subsidy for businesses to bridge the gap between carbon capture costs and the cost of carbon credits, thereby encouraging more firms to use the green technology instead of simply paying to pollute. The introduction of an accreditation alongside the subsidy would then allow consumers to make informed choices about businesses.

Of the winners, the judges said: “We really liked the presentation, which contained good use of evidence. The team’s responses to our questions were strong and it was a very creative policy which showed a real depth of knowledge.”

And the winning team said: “The three of us were always challenging eachother about our ideas and this was our biggest strength, it allowed us to improve and refine our policy. We wanted to make the idea as accessible as possible and we hope to have achieved that.”

The runner-up was Joshua who presented Cleaner, Leaner, Greener – a policy which would see the introduction of green tax credits for all income tax payers in the UK. Under the policy, the first £500 of all income tax would be paid into a green account, which could then be used by tax payers on a green energy product of their choice – from triple glazing to solar panels.

The judges said: “We were impressed with how strong the presentation was and Joshua did a good job of defending the idea in the Q&A.”

Other finalists included Luca, who presented a Deposit Return Scheme and Packaging Tax. Under the scheme, a levy would be introduce on top of drinks containers, which would be refunded to the user upon return of the empty vessel to a recycling point. To coincide with the scheme, a tax would be introduced on single-use and environmentally inefficient packaging.

Tanya pitched her policy, the Future of Oil and Gas Companies, which proposed a new green company rating system. The new system utilised a clearer and more accessible set of criteria that was designed to make it easier and more interactive for consumers, allowing them to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Robert and Nikhil’s policy, Meet us at Net Zero, proposed the introduction of a 16.5 per cent tax on all meat and dairy products in the UK in an effort to encourage a move to veganism by consumers. The pair also proposed a price floor for all processed meat and diary products and the introduction of a subsidy to help producers switch to vegan products.

In this story

Tomas  Maltby

Reader in International Politics

Francesca Pia Vantaggiato

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy