UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP Director gives keynote in Beijing on green growth to meeting of global energy ministers

30 May 2017

Professor Mariana Mazzucato gave a series of talks at the second Mission Innovation-Clean Energy Ministerial conference in Beijing, China, 6 – 8 June 2017.

Mariana Mazzucato - keynote to lunch

The conference brought together two groups that were formed after the 2015 COPS meeting in Paris: Mission Innovation and the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM). While MI focuses on breakthrough R&D for the new technologies of tomorrow, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) focuses on scaling the deployment of technologies and solutions that are available today. Together, MI and CEM aim to be a robust platform for accelerating clean energy innovation and facilitating its uptake by a global market. 

The meeting was attended by senior Ministerial delegates from 22 member nations and the European Union—representing more than 80% of the world’s public investment in clean energy research.

Mazzucato’s lunchtime keynote on June 7th was a session organized by both groups. Her talk,“Green growth: Rethinking public and private risk-taking”, was delivered to an audience of global Energy Ministers from 22 countries and leading figures from the finance and energy sectors. 

Professor Mazzucato said: “To achieve a clean energy revolution we must learn from the role of public and private sectors in the IT revolution. Meeting the challenge of climate change requires not only significant private sector investment in R&D, piloting and deployment, but also public sector agencies willing to take on risks in the most capital intensive and high-risk areas. That is why the twin roles played by Mission Innovation (upstream) and the Clean Energy Ministerial (downstream) are so important. Public and private sectors need to work together in new and dynamic ways to create and shape new markets in order to steer the direction of economic growth in a ‘green’ direction.” 

Mariana Mazzucato - moderating panel

Mazzucato also moderated the opening panel discussion on the important roles of Mission Innovation & the Clean Energy Ministerial in driving progress in the energy revolution (8th June).  The panel included: Bertrand Piccard, Solar Adventurer, Solar Impulse; Bjorn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability, Statoil; Wu Gang, Chairman, Goldwind Science & Technology; Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer,  Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL); Ibrahim Baylan, Minister, Ministry of the Environment and Energy, Sweden; and Riku Huttunen DG of Finland’s Dept of Energy.

Mariana Mazzucato with Rick Perry, US Energy Secretary

Mazzucato also met with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, with whom she discussed the key role of the state in driving clean energy innovation as set out in her book, The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths.

Earlier in the week she spoke at an event hosted by the Energy Foundation on why a green revolution needs a mission-oriented public sector and a definancialised private sector (6th June).

The green economy and sustainable development, will be a key area of work for the new Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose that Prof. Mazzucato is directing at UCL. IIPP research in this area focusses on the relationship between the sources of finance and the direction of innovation, as well as the role that mission-oriented investments can play in aligning upstream and downstream investments.  This strand will be developed in collaboration with Visiting Research Associate, Dr Gregor Seminiuk.

Further reading