‘Narrowing’ path to net-zero necessitates more low-carbon investment, report warns

Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 remains feasible, costing less than 1% of GDP.

This is according to a new report from Energy Systems Catapult, a research firm that developed four future scenarios using its peer-reviewed modelling system to explore 3,600 different net-zero-compliant energy system pathways.

The analysis emphasises that future scenarios rely significantly on bioenergy production and negative emissions and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, such as direct air capture and bioenergy with CCS.

Without widespread adoption of these technologies on a large scale, the research does not currently identify a viable path to achieving net-zero emissions.

The report underscores the need for more immediate and transparent incentives and regulations to encourage innovation and market development for these technology options within the next 15 years.

Energy Systems Catapult’s chief executive Guy Newey said: “2050 is just 308 months away and while the path to net-zero has narrowed, innovations in mature and novel cleantech gives us cause for optimism.

“We need to accelerate the pace and scale of deployment to levels not yet seen. The UK plays host to some of the world’s most exciting innovators and we are confident they will seize that opportunity.”

However, the report stresses that simply deploying clean technologies is insufficient, it is essential to integrate them into a reliable, clean energy system using a “whole systems” approach that supports consumer engagement and behavioural changes.

According to the analysis, companies that can develop compelling customer products, propositions and business models for integrated home energy solutions will excel in the long-run.

The report states that Britain achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 remains feasible, costing less than 1% of GDP. However, this will require considerable annual investment, totalling £16bn from both public and private sectors, contributing to a £600bn system cost over 25 years.

A roadmap for fast-tracking European climate tech

In related news, dozens of Europe’s climate tech innovators and investors have unveiled ‘the Climate Brick,’ a community-led initiative aimed at addressing the climate crisis through technological advancements.

The initiative is being led by EQT Ventures and Contrarian Ventures, with backing from entities like HSBC Innovation Banking UK, 2150, Norrsken, Einride, Northvolt, Marvel Fusion and Genomines.

The new community has launched a study examining climate tech, providing insights and strategies for scaling climate tech businesses.

With projections indicating that climate technologies could potentially mitigate up to 90% of global emissions by 2050, while requiring an estimated investment of approximately €270trn by the same year, the study highlights the need for collaboration within the industry.

The Climate Brick aims to facilitate this collaboration by creating an ecosystem where climate tech entrepreneurs can access necessary resources and support.

The Climate Brick’s founder Sandra Malmberg said: “The journey to scale in climate tech is unconventional compared to traditional venture capital investment.

“The Climate Brick is the missing manual to unite the community, enable better steering and target setting, improve capital allocation and make stakeholder involvement more efficient – thereby generating impact at scale.”

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