Report: Green Growth and Decarbonisation of Energy Systems

19 Jul 2018

LCS-RNet policy report
This report was developed based on submissions from International Research network for Low Carbon Society (LCS-RNet) members, presented during their 9th conference hosted by UKERC in 2017, and includes contributions from 28 authors from around the world.

LCS-RNet is a community of researchers and research organisations contributing directly to policymaking and implementing processes, along with other like-minded stakeholders including policymakers, business and financial entities and civil society. Together they facilitate the formulation and implementation of science-based policies for low carbon development in the world.

Currently 16 research organisations work to develop the LCS-RNet, with Japan, Germany, France, UK playing a core role in cooperation with Brazil, China, India and Korea.

Summary of chapter themes

As national priorities are shifting inwards, and as the global sense of unity in face of the threat of climate change is being questioned, now is an opportune time to reaffirm the benefits of a decarbonized economy.

The transition to a low-carbon society through the decarbonisation of energy systems can bring social and economic benefits and foster countries’ economic competitiveness. Research shows that decarbonisation of energy systems is not only beneficial to both those issues, but it also impacts other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through co-benefits and synergies (see Chapter 1).

Climate finance needs to be made available to match the levels pledged in the Paris Agreement and to support developing countries on their low-carbon journey. To facilitate this, governments can provide innovative policy support and radically change the way greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are priced (see Chapter 2).

The economic performance of industry is tightly linked to energy systems and energy price fluctuation. Governments can facilitate the transition of this sector by adopting industrial policies that encourage long-term decarbonisation. Appropriate policies can help maintain the economic competitiveness of the industrial sector while undertaking this transition, whilst also fostering innovation and resource productivity within wider society (see Chapter 3).

Finally, decarbonisation of energy systems is no longer a theoretical matter. Many examples exist around the world of successful cases, from emerging economies to multinational companies. These cases provide solid evidence of the existence of effective solutions for a transition to a low-carbon society (see Chapter 4).

Policy recommendations
  • In order to move the implementation of the Paris Agreement forwards, governments need to adopt long-term visions that integrate several policies, particularly industrial policy, energy policy and trade policy.
  • The transition to a low-carbon society needs to be paved by innovative financial mechanisms and ambitious carbon pricing. Further research is needed to quantify the social benefits of low-carbon investments.
  • Energy access is one of the key challenges of this century, notably in developing regions such as Africa. It is crucial for related issues such as climate change mitigation and poverty reduction. The related financial, technological and social barriers need to be addressed through innovative policies to facilitate energy access for a wide range of vulnerable populations and to raise awareness of the problem in developed countries.
  • Green growth plans, industrial strategies, product regulations and standards should be further developed, taking into account long-term innovation and circular economy patterns.
Download the full report here.