The road to net zero requires not only cost reductions in existing clean technologies but the development of new ones, like green hydrogen. But the current level of low-carbon innovation is insufficient to meet the challenge.
Public expenditure on research, development and demonstration (RD&D) for low-carbon technologies has remained broadly flat as a percentage of GDP over the last 30 years, at 0.04% of GDP - a decrease from 0.1% of GDP in 1980.
Innovation and industrial policies – with a focus on both the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies – should constitute a cornerstone of strategies to reach carbon neutrality. An increase in public R&D expenditures targeted at early-stage low-carbon technologies is urgent.
The research system will then need to adapt to this increase, but a larger forward leap can only happen if low-carbon RD&D becomes a clear priority in governments’ budgets.
Read the paper: Driving low-carbon innovations for climate neutrality