The IPCC’s AR6 report, entitled “Climate Technology Revolution” is in many ways an appeal for the next climate revolution. It urges us to engineer climate change by reducing emissions, targeting 1.5 degree global warming, and creating a “climate tipping point” where we exceed the current climate threshold. Consequently, the incentives for climate engineering are mounting. But the question remains: What’s the best way to achieve these goals?
Challenges of climate technology
There are several challenges associated with climate technology deployment. First of all, most new technologies require a substantial amount of capital, and the cost of development and deployment is prohibitive. Another major challenge is the lack of a mature ecosystem that will support their widespread deployment. Solar and wind projects, for example, took several decades to get from their early commercial projects to standardized financing and widespread adoption. To overcome these barriers, climate tech companies must overcome a number of common obstacles.
First, climate tech startups must find a suitable market and develop a playbook. The payback periods are long, and large-scale deployments often require substantial amounts of venture capital. Second, markets are typically fragmented at the regulatory level and vary significantly across geographies. Third, delivering proof-of-concept technologies at scale can be capital intensive and risky, and investors are often wary of technology that has not been tested and is not yet proven.
Innovation system approach to climate technology
The innovation system approach to climate technology development has many advantages. In the first instance, it can be applied to climate technology development processes in developing countries. Second, it can be applied to technology transfer processes. Third, this approach can facilitate participatory approaches among local actors. Traditionally, technology diffusion models treat local actors as spectators, limiting the spread of technology and its benefits among the intended beneficiary. This article explores the potential of this approach through various methods, including stakeholder identification and capacity building. Using this model, a climate service innovation process is facilitated.
A critical element of this approach is the identification of key actors. Case studies of climate technologies reveal which actors are vital for the innovation process. Byrne et al. (2014) demonstrate that key actors play a critical role in off-grid solar photovoltaics market development in Kenya. Identifying and supporting these institutions and actors would be important policy interventions. And while the CTCN would link CRIBs internationally, it would also serve as a central hub for knowledge flow and access to technological capabilities.
Potential of climate technologies
In the recent past, the global community has taken steps to advance the potential of climate technologies, such as solar energy, wind energy, and clean fuels. While it’s difficult to quantify the impact of these new technologies, it is crucial that investors have objective data on the future potential of these technologies. The CRANE tool was developed to analyze the climate mitigation potential of new climate technologies. Moreover, it helps investors assess piloting opportunities for climate technologies in the United States.
The use of technology is a key way to tackle the climate emergency and create new economic opportunities. In a time of climate emergency, rich countries can flatten research and development curves and reduce costs, while low-income countries offer a huge market for these technologies. By adopting a global view, progressive leaders can leverage the full potential of climate innovation and defuse the climate emergency. And, they need to work together to create an ideal climate system that benefits both rich and poor nations.
Investment opportunities in climate technology
According to a PwC report, investment in climate technology has tripled to $60 billion in the first half of 2021, and 14 cents of every venture capital dollar is now poured into the sector. Investment opportunities in climate technology include nuclear fusion, which is a natural process that powers the sun and differs from the fission process in modern power plants. It could help unlock limitless clean electricity. Investment opportunities in climate technology will also be vital in the coming years because of the potential to reduce energy costs worldwide.
Increasing awareness of climate change is bringing more attention to this issue, especially among investors. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report last August, reinforcing calls for a drastic shift in policy. The COP26 conference in Paris also echoed these calls for action, and in Glasgow, the Breakthroughs initiative announced plans to accelerate the adoption of clean tech. As more funds pour into climate tech, there is a strong possibility that these technologies will become more affordable and accessible to a wider audience.