Luca Meini

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                    [post_content] => In recent years, the replacement of fossil fuels with renewables in power generation and improvements in energy use efficiency have contributed the largest proportions of global CO2 emissions reduction.  With the recent acceleration of ambitions on decarbonization – and countries adopting targets to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century – these predominant measures have limitations: first, there is evidence that direct electrification may not be feasible in ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors outside of electricity generation. Second, the predominant approach has disregarded the globalization of trade and supply chains and spatial dissociation between places of extraction, production, and consumption. In the current ‘linear’ decarbonization model, a sole focus on the reduction of emissions from energy production is likely to be insufficient to achieve net-zero objectives, as emissions would need to decline very rapidly to offset the expansion in economic output.

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In this paper, the authors ask what other solutions can be used to enhance decarbonization and meet net zero carbon targets. The circular economy - a traditional concept in the economics of production and management of resources that has typically been adopted at the organizational level - can be a strong complement to existing policies in enhancing decarbonization through non-energy means. However, some broad conditions need to be met for circular economy approaches to lead to net economic as well as environmental benefits when extended to an economywide level, including the more intensive use of an existing stock of resources, development of secondary markets to aid circular flows, and measures to prevent or mitigate unintended consequences.

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Latest Publications by Luca Meini