Peering into the future fog of CO2 – how road maps can help

The term ‘road map’ is proliferating in energy and climate policy to denote any policy or aspiration projected into the future. Connie Hedegaard, Europe’s environment commissioner, hailed the Durban conference agreement as a ‘road map’ to an eventual global climate deal. This contrasts with the far more detailed road maps that she and her European Commission colleagues have been publishing on how Europe can reach its 2050 emission targets. This OIES comment looks at the uses and abuses of road maps. It shows they can be a substitute for action, but also argues they can also be a precursor to action, or at least useful in giving policy-makers and investors a sense of direction for the low carbon economy. And the Durban road map might just reinforce the sense – already evident in some parts of the fossil industry – that global carbon pricing is inevitable one day.

By: David Buchan

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