Lord Drayson: What Paris means to me...

Jessica Shankleman

Paul Drayson urges leaders to focus on the health benefits of reducing pollution

BusinessGreen is asking key green business leaders about their personal views on the importance of the climate change talks due to take place in the French capital at the end of this year.

This week we spoke to Lord Drayson, founder of clean tech firm Drayson Technologies and former Science and Innovation Minister.

BG: What do you hope to see achieved in Paris?

Lord Drayson: We need to recognise that we will only be able to tackle climate change effectively if we are able to make the connection for people between global climate change and the way they live their lives every day. At present many people do not see the link.

I believe that the health concerns of people and their families provide a near and pressing motivation for change, which can provide such a connection. The growing concern over the serious health impact of air pollution in cities is the issue which brings home to people the vital urgency to reduce carbon emissions, both for their own health and for the health of the planet overall. I hope that reducing air pollution is seen at the Paris conference as an important element in the discussions and is linked to binding commitments to carbon reduction.

What do you think will be agreed?

Considering the world in which we live is one where air pollution in cities has changed from being primarily an environmental issue to a health issue, I think we are about to see changes to how our cities are run and how we travel within them.

Awareness of the damage we are doing to our health, as well as our planet, is finally becoming apparent, and people are quite rightly concerned. However, time is running out and I hope that the meeting in Paris reflects a sense of urgency and leads to binding action.

How would a Paris deal impact your business?

It would increase awareness of the impact air pollution has; not just on the planet but to our health as individuals, bringing both the conversation and the onus of action down to a personal level.

A big announcement will give us an opportunity to encourage more people to join our movement for cleaner air, be that as business or individuals. This is why we developed CleanSpace. The app and CleanSpace Tag (a personal air quality sensor) make it easy for individuals and companies alike to see and understand the impact of air pollution, and offers solutions to reduce exposure.

Do you think green businesses are making themselves heard?

I think that environmental sustainability has moved from being a specialist sector of business to one where every well-run business recognises that it is central to their success that they become greener. More organisations are now recognising their obligation as businesses to keep their pollution and impact on climate change to a minimum.

In 240 characters what would your message be to the lead negotiators?

Take action now. Commit to binding change that makes a measurable difference to the health of the planet and the health of everyone on it.

Are you going to the Paris summit and how are you getting there?
Yes, by train.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

More on Technology

The role of tech in the future of sustainability

The role of tech in the future of sustainability

The tech sector can help deliver on COP26 promises such as curbing methane, ending fossil fuel finance and reversing deforestation, explains techUK's Craig Melson

Craig Melson, TechUK
clock 30 November 2021 • 4 min read
Cornish lithium exploration at Gwennap | Credit: Neil Williams

Cornish Lithium snaps up £18m of investment in bid to boost UK lithium supplies

Miner says funds will go towards feasibility studies for its flagship Trevalour hard rock lithium mining project and further prospecting in Cornwall

Cecilia Keating
clock 29 November 2021 • 2 min read
A tech cell at an Arrival microfactory | Credit: Arrival

Impact unicorns: Green firms dominate list of UK's most valuable tech start-ups

Government reveals six of the 12 most valuable technology start-ups in the UK are focused on the green economy

BusinessGreen staff
clock 29 November 2021 • 3 min read