The release of the report, Scaling Up: Global Technology Deployment to Stabilize Emissions is part of an ongoing effort by WRI to engage the investment and policy communities in framing solutions that harness capital flows, smart policy and markets to protect the climate.
“Carbon constraints are emerging as one of the principal concerns for investors in the energy infrastructure of today as well as the technologies of tomorrow,” said Rob Bradley, one of the report’s authors and director of the International Climate Policy Initiative at WRI. “Policymakers, investors and technology providers are increasingly aware of the scientific consensus around climate change. As with all disruptive change, some companies will thrive, while others will struggle to adapt.”
The report expands on the “wedges” approach proposed by Princeton researchers Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow. The wedges approach frames the major technologies that will play a decisive role in reducing emissions. WRI’s report takes this model a step further, outlining a blueprint for implementing these technologies at the requisite scale.
According to the authors, a number of options exist for reducing emissions by managing energy demand and employing low-carbon energy supplies that can make major contributions to clean economic growth. Yet a deeper understanding of three drivers is vital in order to achieve emissions reductions at the necessary scale: the technologies involved, the investment required and the policies that will offer the most effective incentives to providers of both technology and capital to implement lower-emission solutions.
Scaling Up is part of WRI’s partnership with the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets, a multi-year initiative aimed at designing and promoting the policy and market structures for deploying low-carbon technologies. The report emphasizes the importance of clear, strong policy drivers to provide markets with the signals needed to make sound investment decisions. It also stresses the risk of diverting capital and policy efforts into what the authors refer to as “threat” wedges - technologies such as tar sands or coal-to-liquids that drive emissions up rather than down. Finally, it emphasizes that financial innovation, in particular from private equity firms, investment banks, and pension funds, has a critical role to play.
The report is available for download.