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Centre for Atmospheric Science


Expert perceptions of game-changing innovations towards net zero

Researchers from PARIS REINFORCE (PR), including the Climate Change Policy Group's (CCPG) Dr Annela Anger-Kraavi and Elin May have just published a new analysis in Energy Strategy Reviews.

Current technological improvements do not put the world on a path towards net zero (NZ). If we are to achieve NZ, it will require the widespread diffusion of transformative low-carbon innovations to supplement other mitigation efforts. However, the true role these innovations will play in a low-carbon transition is not fully understood.

Many game-changing technologies are considered essential to achieve deep decarbonisation and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, being present in most decarbonisation pathways, yet their limitations, availability, and potential remain a heated source of debate.

In this paper, Perdana and colleagues evaluate these so-called game-changing innovations (from CCS to hyperloops) from the experts’ perspective. In doing so, they aim to support the design of realistic decarbonisation scenarios and better-informed NZ policy strategies.

Using a worldwide survey, with over 250 respondents, climate and energy experts assessed transformative innovations against their mitigation potential, at-scale availability and/or widespread adoption, and their perceived risk of delay.

So, what did the experts actually think of these technologies?

Notably, there were differences in the perception of core technological innovations. Next-generation energy storage, alternative building materials, iron-ore electrolysis, and hydrogen in steelmaking emerged as top priorities. On the other hand, those technologies that typical play key roles in “well-below 2°C” pathways were perceived to have considerable and impactful delays.

Experts’ assessments of key technologies converged most on the potential role of other disruptive innovations, such as lifestyle shifts and alternative economic models, in achieving NZ.

These two pivotal results suggest not only that there is a need to re-evaluate the role of certain technological innovations in future pathways towards NZ and deep decarbonisation, but that it is important for scenarios to include alternative, non-technological and demand-side innovations to capture the full decarbonisation potential of societies.

Perdana, S., Xexakis, G., Koasidis, K., Vielle, M., Nikas, A., Doukas, H., Gambhir, A., Anger-Kraavi, A., May, E., McWilliams, B., Boitier, B. (2023). Expert perceptions of game-changing innovations towards net zero. Energy Strategy Reviews, 45, 101022.


Read the full paper on Energy Strategy Reviews

Related Publications 

Expert perceptions of game-changing innovations towards net zero
S Perdana, G Xexakis, K Koasidis, M Vielle, A Nikas, H Doukas, A Gambhir, A Anger-Kraavi, E May, B McWilliams, B Boitier – Energy Strategy Reviews (2023) 45, 101022

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