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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Fix The Climate: Researching Green Energy Assessment, Green Galiana

Assessment Paper

The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in Smart Solutions to Climate Change by Cambridge University Press.

This research paper considers a "technology-led approach" to mitigating CO2 emissions and stabilizing climateover the course of the 21st century. This  approach would focus effort and commitments on researching and developing effective, scalable, and competitive carbon emission-free energy technologies to displace carbon–emitting ones.

Carbon pricing would play two ancillary roles. A low carbon charge ($5.00/tCO2) would be used to finance long-term commitments to energy R&D. Over time, the charge (tax) would slowly rise, doubling every decade, thereby sending a forward price signal to deploy and diffuse technologies as they “reach the shelf”.

The rationales for a technology-led approach to climate policy rest on: (a) the huge energy technology challenge to stabilizing climate; (b) the lack of readiness of current carbon-emission freeenergy technologies; (c) the energy intensive nature of growth in populous developing countries, especially in Asia; (d) the economic and political limitations of a carbon pricing-led policy; and (e) the large economic cost of “brute force” mitigation policies.

The paper also addresses a concern about technology policies: they may succumb to factors that generate waste at the expense of good results. The paper proposes a number of means which would enhance the policy’s “incentive compatibility”.

The paper goes on to consider whether in its early stages the technology policy should focus on “enabling”or “breakthrough” technologies, or both.