Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Climate policy: technology not targets


Climate policy should promote technology development, not set emissions targets, say Isabel Galiana and Christopher Green.

Governments should replace emissions targets with credible long-term commitments to invest in energy research and development (R&D), they suggest.

Stabilising the climate requires ready-to-deploy, scalable, low-carbon technologies that will only be created through basic and applied research and development (R&D), as well as testing and demonstration projects.

Tackling climate change by fostering a global technology 'race' sidesteps many of the problems associated with emission-reduction targets, say the authors.

And it should appeal to developing countries such as Brazil, China and India because it asks for scientific knowledge sharing rather than development sacrifices.

The race could be financed by a slowly rising carbon price, say the authors. They suggest starting with a price of US$5 per tonne of emitted carbon dioxide, which would raise global funds of US$150 billion per year. This price should rise gradually — doubling every ten years — and the money raised placed in dedicated trust funds to be distributed to R&D projects by organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Countries that decide not to participate in R&D could use the funds to purchase developed technologies.

Link to full article in Nature

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.