Ralph De Haas, Ralf Martin, Mirabelle Muûls, Helena Schweiger, 19 March 2021

Many countries are striving for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, requiring massive investments over the next decades. But many companies, especially smaller ones, will not be able or willing to invest in cleaner technologies. This column explores how organisational constraints can hold back the green transition of firms in less-developed economies. The findings reveal how financial crises can slow down the decarbonisation of economic production and caution against excessive optimism about the potential green benefits of the current economic slowdown, which – like any recession – has led to temporary reductions in emissions.

Mengjia Ren, Lee Branstetter, Brian Kovak, Daniel Armanios, Jiahai Yuan, 16 March 2019

Despite leading the world in clean energy investment in recent years, China continues to engage in massive expansion of coal power thanks to policies that effectively subsidise and (over)incentivise coal power investment. This column examines the effects of the 2014 devolution of authority from the central government to local governments on approvals for coal power projects. It finds that the approval rate for coal power projects is about three times higher when the approval authority is decentralised, and provinces with larger coal industries tend to approve more coal power.

Philippe Aghion, 19 November 2010

Philippe Aghion of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research on how government interventions can encourage firms to shift from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ innovation, thereby sustaining growth while mitigating climate change. He describes the microeconometrics of climate change as virgin territory, where research can make a real difference to the green policy agenda. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010. [Also read the transcript]

David Popp, 26 November 2009

How will proposed increases in energy R&D funding affect other types of R&D spending? This column provides evidence that should dampen concerns about crowding out – increased R&D in response to policies designed to enhance clean-energy innovation most likely comes at the expense of R&D in dirty-energy technologies.

Paul Klemperer, 13 December 2007

No climate-change strategy will work unless it is consistent with developing countries' continued growth. So curbing emissions requires cheaper clean energy than is currently available. And that requires innovation.

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