One of the key factors for mankind’s dealing with climate change is our ability to transition our energy mix as quickly as possible from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to low- or zero-carbon sources (solar, wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, and so on). At the heart of this struggle has been an economic issue: as long as cost of carbon emissions has not been reflected in the market price of fossil fuels, they have been cheaper to use than renewable energy.
As governments have begun to realize the multitude of benefits to deploying clean energy, however, they have been building policy frameworks to encourage their development. This process is perhaps most directly at work in the People’s Republic of China, whose strategies to invest in clean energy is the subject of Kelly Sims Gallagher’s The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China, which I reviewed for the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. Those lessons will be critical for the rest of the world to follow:
There are important implications arising from Gallagher’s work for the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris toward the end of 2015. A global deal to cut emissions, in Gallagher’s estimation, will only be practicable if met with robust financing measures that will facilitate the adoption of these technologies in the world’s least developed countries. The example the Chinese have set shows that effective and tailored government policies and abundant financing can do a lot to speed the transition. For the world’s sake, one can hope the resources are available to replicate this hitherto successful model.
You can read the rest of the review here.