IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

Co-benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation policies

The co-benefits of industrial GHG mitigation include: reduced emissions of air pollutants, and waste (which in turn reduce environmental compliance and waste disposal costs), increased production and product quality, lower maintenance and operating costs, an improved working environment, and other benefits such as decreased liability, improved public image and worker morale, and delaying or reducing capital expenditures. The reduction of energy use can indirectly contribute to reduced health impacts of air pollutants particularly where no air-pollution regulation exists (high agreement, much evidence) [7.10].

Technology research, development, deployment, diffusion and transfer

Commercially available industrial technology provides a very large potential to reduce GHG emissions. However, even with the application of this technology, many industrial processes would still require much more energy than the thermodynamic ideal, suggesting a large additional potential for energy-efficiency improvement and GHG mitigation potential. In addition, some industrial processes emit GHGs that are independent of heat and power use. Commercial technology to eliminate these emissions does not currently exist for some of these processes, for example, development of an inert electrode to eliminate process emissions from aluminium manufacture and the use of hydrogen to reduce iron and non-ferrous metal ores. These new technologies must also meet a host of other criteria, including cost competitiveness, safety and regulatory requirements, as well as winning customer acceptance. Industrial technology research, development, deployment and diffusion are carried out both by governments and companies, ideally in complementary roles. Because of the large economic risks inherent in technologies with GHG emission mitigation as the main purpose, government programmes are likely to be needed in order to facilitate a sufficient level of research and development. It is appropriate for governments to identify fundamental barriers to technology and find solutions to overcome these barriers, but companies should bear the risks and capture the rewards of commercialization.

In addition, government information, energy audits, reporting, and benchmarking programmes promote technology transfer and diffusion. The key factors determining private-sector technology deployment and diffusion are competitive advantage, consumer acceptance, country-specific characteristics, protection of intellectual property rights, and regulatory frameworks (medium agreement, medium evidence) [7.11].