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St Catharine’s Political Economy Seminar – ‘Policies to promote low-carbon technological development’ by Hector Pollitt
November 27, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Date: Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Time: 18:00 -19:30
Speaker: Hector Pollitt
Talk Title: “Policies to promote low-carbon technological development”
Location: Ramsden Room, St Catharine’s College
Hector Pollitt is the head of modelling at Cambridge Econometrics. He is a post-Keynesian economist with specific expertise in macro-sectoral economic modelling. He is currently researching linkages between post-Keynesian economics and complexity theory. At Cambridge Econometrics, Hector Pollitt oversees the application of the E3ME macro-econometric model, which treats the economy as a dynamic system that both shapes and is influenced by technological development. Using the E3ME model, he has carried out high-level policy analysis for public authorities at UK, EU and global levels. He has worked with the European Commission for over ten years and provided inputs to the recent assessment of the EU’s long-term decarbonisation strategy. His other recent work has shown how the development of low-carbon technologies could lead to long-run economic benefits. For example, his modelling for the 2018 New Climate Economy report suggested that limiting global temperature change to 2°C could create $26trn of additional wealth by 2030.
The challenge to decarbonise the global economy is primarily one of technology development and diffusion. Policies that are popular with economists, such as carbon taxes, will not be effective at reducing emissions levels if consumers do not see affordable alternatives to fossil fuels. Furthermore, without new technology options, these policies are likely to cause social unrest. The solar revolution has given us conclusive proof that policy can influence both the direction and speed of technological development. This finding has important implications for policy makers and suggests that a much broader portfolio of measures is needed than basic carbon pricing measures.
However, successful innovation policy requires an understanding of the innovation chain, right through from basic laboratory research to final commercialisation of products. Accelerating this process requires interventions at each point in the innovation chain. This seminar discusses the role of innovation policy in combating climate change. It will discuss the role of research in the private and public sectors, and the interaction of incentives to innovate with other climate policies.