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COP28: Cameron Hepburn

"I think fundamentally the bottom line is that emissions as we know have been going up for decades and decades. They're now basically flat. They go up a percent, down a percent, we're basically at the peak and I think within a couple of years they'll start to decline and at that point we're swimming with the tide rather than against the tide."

Cameron Hepburn, Battcock Professor of Environmental Economics, points out that we are reaching an inflection point where emissions are starting to plateau and the economics around renewable energy and carbon-neutral innovation are becoming financially more attractive as the fossil fuel industry begins to wind down. He identifies public buy-in as the greatest challenge we face in addressing the climate crisis. that if the opportunities around the transition to Net Zero are communicated in way that engages the general public, then political support for strong climate measures will follow, which in turn will further shift economic incentives and financing.

Despite the past few years seeing a number of scientific innovations in construction, energy, heatig and transport, some of the most important innovations are social and institutional. Now policymakers and businesses are realising the competitive advantages and value in innovating sooner rather than later. Sectors ranging from energy generation to shipping are seeing faster progress than ever before. If we are to truly reach net zero, governments can't afford to slow down on this drive for innovation.

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