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Designing Climate Solutions

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Designing Climate Solutions

A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy

Island Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Climate change is here – but there may be some solutions.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Concrete Examples
  • For Experts


Energy policy consultant Hal Harvey – writing with Robbie Orvis and Jeffrey Rissman – presents a comprehensive, detailed manual for effective policy aimed at “decarbonizing the economy.” Their research, advice and spirit will appeal to those calling for climate action now. The authors detail how everything necessary to make the transition to a low-carbon economy already exists. The technologies are robust, and the costs are low. The only thing missing, they say, is the political will.


“Decarbonizing the Economy” 

Governments and scientists agree that limiting global warming to less than 2oC [3.6oF] above preindustrial levels is necessary to avoid the worst of climate change. Even a chance of reaching this goal requires drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions to be 40% to 70% lower in 2050 than they would be without these limits.

The fastest way to meet that standard is to transform developed countries’ energy and industrial sectors. The top 20 highest carbon-emitting countries are responsible for 75% of all emissions. Overall, 94% of these emissions come from four economic sectors: industry, the generation of power and heat, transportation, and buildings. To cut sector emissions quickly, countries can reduce their overall electricity use through increased efficiencies, can take carbon out of electricity generation by substituting renewable fuel sources, adopt electric vehicles (EVs); invest in urban transit, and curb emissions from industry and buildings. Performance standards, “economic signals,” R&D, and new ...

About the Authors

Energy policy consultants Hal Harvey, Robbie Orvis and Jeffrey Rissman are executives at Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC.

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