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Climate change and radical energy innovation: the policy issues

  • Keith Smith

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

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    Although the impacts of greenhouse gas build-up remain uncertain, they have the potential to be very serious and possibly catastrophic. If the outcomes are serious then neither improving energy efficiency nor adaptation policies will cope with the problems of warming. Reducing climate impacts without impeding economic development will require new low or zero emissions energy carriers and associated technologies. This paper argues that current innovation policy initiatives aim at only limited dimensions of energy technology: they either promote incremental change in existing technologies, or improving performance in existing renewable alternatives. They will neither induce fundamental innovation in carrier technologies, nor change the basic technological regime of hydrocarbon production, distribution and use. For this, more radical „mission-oriented? programmes are necessary. In turn, these will require new policy instruments and methods, new roles for government, and new dimensions of international collaboration and global governance of innovation strategies.

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    Paper provided by Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo in its series Working Papers on Innovation Studies with number 20090101.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20090101
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