May 04 2009
Copenhagen Climate Deal Business Briefing: Innovation and Technology Cooperation
By Nick Mabey, Shane Tomlinson, Jennifer Morgan
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In the midst of the current global recession, bold action will be needed to stimulate the economy, generate jobs and lay the foundations of a sustainable recovery. This action could provide a new impetus for a low carbon economy that is efficient, innovative and sustainable. Some governments, on the national level, are already implementing such measures in an effort to address the range of challenges simultaneously.
However, we know that limiting global emissions to levels well below a 2 degrees C rise in temperature will require a step-change in global innovation and diffusion to make a zero-carbon energy economy feasible before 2050. The question is whether Copenhagen can be the global moment when the signal is given that those companies that want to operate and prosper in a low carbon economy will have a leg up, and provide a framework for this to happen.
Copenhagen will be a defining moment in the evolution of the market for low carbon technologies
Bold, new thinking on technology cooperation and diffusion is required to accelerate the scale and pace of low carbon innovation and meet our climate, energy security and economic growth goals
Business engagement will be crucial to ensure the right frameworks are created to deliver transformational change
Underlying the emission reduction trajectories produced by the UNFCCC and IEA are aggressive assumptions on the early commercialisation of key technologies such as high penetration renewables, electric vehicles, low carbon cement and steel production, carbon capture and storage and new biofuels. While the development of cap and trade systems will help the diffusion of some technologies, it clearly will not drive all of the technologies needed at the scale and speed required. Without a credible global framework to spur action and increase business competition, we will not make the necessary investments to achieve a low carbon transformation.
Copenhagen will be crucial to provide this global framework and lay the foundations for a sustained low carbon recovery. This year will be a defining moment in determining the future shape and growth of the global market for low carbon technologies. It is crucial that Copenhagen establishes the right global architecture and acts as an engine for low carbon growth. For the first time both emissions reductions and technology are front and centre, offering an opportunity to ensure that both goals can be simultaneously achieved.
The Copenhagen Agreement must include both targets and actions to curb global emissions and goals and measures to deliver the necessary technology and innovation in order to limit global temperature increases well below 2oC. This will be the only way to provide credible incentives for private investment, avoid high carbon lock-in and deliver future jobs and growth. Global cooperation for technology will be vital to provide our future climate security. To achieve a 2oC world we must simultaneously develop and deploy new and existing technologies in developed and developing countries. However, over last 25 years public energy R&D funding by major developed countries has fallen by 50% in real terms over the last 25 years.