Gambhir A, Nikas A (2023) Seven key principles for assessing emerging low-carbon technological opportunities for climate change mitigation action. PLOS Clim 2(7): e0000235. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pclm.0000235
DATE: July 10th, 2023
AUTHORS: Ajay Gambhir | Alexandros Nikas
JOURNAL: PLOS Climate
TITLE: Seven key principles for assessing emerging low-carbon technological opportunities for climate change mitigation action
It is virtually certain that there is going to be a scramble for technological innovation in the coming years, to ensure that society can operate without today’s vast reliance on fossil fuels and their associated CO2 emissions, nor the emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) from agriculture and waste, and other greenhouse gases from human activities. Indeed, it has been estimated that almost half of the technologies making up a net-zero energy system in 2050 are commercially unavailable.
In this technology gold rush, there will inevitably be both successes and failures. Some new technologies will help tackle both climate change and other energy-related or societal challenges (such as energy security and reliance on volatile fossil fuel prices), whereas others—despite their contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions—will risk augmenting existing concerns or even give rise to new societal issues (such as local environmental pollution, or bottlenecks and disruptions to communities affected by extraction of energy transition-critical materials and over-reliance on brittle international mineral supply-chains with the associated geo-political tensions that could result)
Furthermore, technology development will not occur in isolation of broader infrastructures (such as roads and city designs, electric vehicle charging networks, district heating, and cooling networks, or hydrogen pipelines). Still, rather technologies will be central “artefacts” within a system of physical, regulatory, and political innovation systems. The success or failure of such systems will depend on multiple actors (including researchers, businesses, investors, governments, and consumers) and factors (regulation, policy, capital availability, information, social legitimacy for new technologies, etc.) as well as the efficacy of their interactions.
SYNERGIES: IAM COMPACT
TAGS: climate change mitigation