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Accelerating the low carbon transition

Accelerating the low carbon transition


By David G. Victor, Frank W. Geels, Simon Sharpe

The world is dedicated to appearing on local weather change. At the very least because the signing of the United Nations Framework Conference on Local weather Change in 1992,  the worldwide group has been united in its dedication to stopping ‘harmful anthropogenic interference with the local weather system’. Within the Paris settlement of 2015, virtually all international locations set out particular person targets or actions they might take in direction of assembly this collective purpose. Earlier this yr, the UN Local weather Motion Summit highlighted many examples of governments, companies and civil society teams main the way in which to a low carbon financial system. There’s basic consensus on the necessity for deep cuts in emissions as quickly as is sensible. Nevertheless, it’s equally clear that emissions are nonetheless rising, not falling, and financial change will not be taking place wherever close to rapidly sufficient.

Since diplomatic talks on local weather change started round 1990, annual international CO2 emissions have risen by over 60%,1 and so they might plausibly preserve rising just a few per cent per yr for no less than the following decade, if not longer. Future emissions are ‘baked in’ – already made more likely to come up from the excessive carbon power infrastructure we have already got, and extra of this infrastructure remains to be being constructed and deliberate. At this charge, agreed targets for limiting the rise of worldwide temperatures have gotten ever tougher to satisfy, and a future local weather that assessments the boundaries of the adaptive functionality of our economies, ecologies and societies is changing into ever tougher to keep away from. The necessity to speed up progress is due to this fact unquestionable. The query is easy methods to do it.

This report is for the governments and companies which can be curious about accelerating deep decarbonisation of the world financial system. We intention to focus on the place their actions can have the best affect, by bringing collectively data from three areas:

  • First, an understanding of how know-how transitions occur – drawing on classes from historic shifts comparable to from horses to vehicles, coal to fuel, and wells to piped water methods;
  • Secondly, an understanding of how worldwide cooperation has succeeded previously – what has labored for issues in commerce, safety, and the atmosphere – and what this implies for a way coordinated motion can steer and speed up technological transitions;
  • Thirdly, the applying of those insights to the principle greenhouse fuel emitting sectors, focussed significantly on figuring out factors of leverage for coordinated worldwide motion to speed up low-carbon transitions.

As compared with earlier reviews, what’s new is our concentrate on the processes of change, fairly than on the top purpose. We think about not simply which applied sciences are viable, however which actors might develop and deploy them, and the way coverage would possibly inspire them to take action. We additionally think about how worldwide cooperation can itself evolve to grow to be stronger over time, with actions at every stage laying the foundations for deeper agreements later. On this means, we intention to develop a brand new understanding of how the worldwide group’s local weather change targets will be met. We advise that the broad-based multilateralism of the Paris Settlement should be complemented with types of worldwide motion which can be stronger, extra coordinated, and extra focussed on the vital actions that may speed up change throughout the worldwide financial system.