Sustainability transition in basic industries - the forgotten sector

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Emissions of greenhouse gases in all sectors of society must reach near zero, in developed countries preferably by 2050, in order to reach climate policy objectives. Alternatives and strategies for the energy and transport sectors are relatively well understood but the basic
industries are often overlooked, not least in sustainability transition and innovation system studies. The policy and technology implications of near zero emissions for industry have not been extensively studied. We explore and review technologies for greenhouse gas reductions in three basic industries: cement, steel and organic chemistry, using a technology innovation system and
multilevel perspective approach. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is often put forward as the key
mitigation option for basic industry but our study include a number of other technology options.
These technologies may have more synergistic characteristics with emerging technologies in other
sectors and therefore, good development prospects.
A better understanding of technologies for transforming basic industries and their development prospects is needed for better informed policy-making. The three basic industries studied are at very early, yet different, stages towards a transition and thus need different policies to succeed. Emissions trade or carbon taxes are important for the market formation of decarbonised production technologies, but not sufficient for their early development and deployment. Technology strategies and roadmaps are important first steps in a process to develop associated policy strategies. More studies are needed on existing regimes and future production and product
niches of the basic industries, in order to build a more comprehensive understanding of possible transition pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012
EventThe International Conference on Innovative Methods for Innovation Management and Policy (IM2012) - Beijing, China
Duration: 2012 May 212014 May 24


ConferenceThe International Conference on Innovative Methods for Innovation Management and Policy (IM2012)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Systems


  • variation analysis
  • basic industries
  • low-carbon technologies
  • sustainability transition


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