Charting a roadmap towards deep decarbonisation: Low carbon technology solutions and transitions

Event Type
Virtual Discussion

Online, 07.04.2022


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Lund University, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

A wealthy low-carbon economic development is hardly conceivable without technological innovation and changes in socio-technical systems (Rosenbloom et al 2020). Achieving net-zero emissions while not jeopardizing efforts to reduce poverty requires innovation and a fast transition towards zero emissions across all sectors including energy, transport, buildings, and industry. It involves (technological) solutions such as scaling up renewable energy generation at low cost, ensuring energy storage and transport with minimal losses, decarbonising energy-intensive heavy industries, and end-uses such as transport and heating, sequestrating carbon, improving smart grids and a variety of other ICT solutions as well as new technologies and practices that allow for high-productivity, low-emissions agriculture, and dietary change.

Electrification and hydrogen have emerged as key options as costs for solar and wind are rapidly decreasing. The decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries requires large amounts of electricity and hydrogen but also creates opportunities for flexible demand and economic development in renewable resource rich regions in the global south. The world may progress from shipping and using fossil fuels to make electricity to use renewable electricity to produce fuels such as ammonia and methanol, as well as energy intensive materials such as iron and polymers, and ship these to markets.

Technologies also need to be combined in a smart way to achieve decarbonisation at the lowest cost, harness potential chances of the (locational) changes driven by decarbonisaton of value chains and enable opportunities for regions, workers and sectors affected by the transition. To accelerate the transition, i.e. the development and deployment of key solutions for decarbonisation in an integrated way, policymakers need to understand and utilise the full menu of options, be able to assess alternatives taking abatement potential and economic co-benefits as well as technological readiness and comparative advantages into account (Australian Government, 2020). They need to mitigate the risks involved, and design the right incentive packages; all this amidst high uncertainty about technological progress and future market conditions. Moreover, requirements and policy options differ across countries, depending on resource endowments and levels of development. Key questions are if and how developing countries can benefit from a paradigm shift to low carbon technologies and solutions (Altenburg/Pegels 2021). Last but not least, as some mitigation options are costly and climate technologies address a global public good, issues of burden-sharing, intellectual property rights, nurturing green markets, and new global value chains call for new international collaboration and mechanisms of research governance (OECD 2012; de Coninck/ Revi 2018).


Which key options and technologies still need to be developed, or substantially improved, for a deep decarbonisation?

  • Chris Bataille, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)


What are the pathways to decarbonising energy and emissions intensive industries and their policy implications?

  • Stefan Lechtenböhmer, Wuppertal Institute


How can we best organise and accelerate directed technological change towards low-carbon solutions without suppressing market-led entrepreneurial experimentation?

  • Rainer Kattel, University College London, tbc


Challenges and opportunities for developing /emerging countries when world markets shift towards carbon-neutrality

  • Tilman Altenburg, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)


Challenges for international climate technology cooperation

  • Heleen de Coninck, Eindhoven University of Technology


How can international governance and the climate regime be organised and adjusted to allow for the decarbonisation of heavy industry and transports?

  • Gökçe Mete, Stockholm Environment Institute



  • Lars. J Nilsson, Lund University

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