Carbon Lock-In: Types, Causes, and Policy Implications

  title={Carbon Lock-In: Types, Causes, and Policy Implications},
  author={Karen C. Seto and Steven J. Davis and Ronald B. Mitchell and Eleanor C. Stokes and Gregory C. Unruh and Diana {\"u}rge-Vorsatz},
  journal={Annual Review of Environment and Resources},
Existing technologies, institutions, and behavioral norms together act to constrain the rate and magnitude of carbon emissions reductions in the coming decades. The inertia of carbon emissions due to such mutually reinforcing physical, economic, and social constraints is referred to as carbon lock-in. Carbon lock-in is a special case of path dependency, which is common in the evolution of complex systems. However, carbon lock-in is particularly prone to entrenchment given the large capital… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Carbon mitigation in domains of high consumer lock-in
Carbon lock-in: an obstacle in higher education’s decarbonization pathways
Carbon lock-in describes a force that perpetuates the fossil fuel energy system despite known risks and cost-effective alternatives, a consequence of which is the slow rate of diffusion of low-carbon
Carbon Lock-In and Sustainable Growth Challenges : Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa
This research seeks to investigate the risks of carbon lock-in by examining the potential factors influencing carbon dioxide emissions levels in Sub-Saharan Africa. Given this, we employed a panel
Breaking Out of Carbon Lock-In: Malaysia’s Path to Decarbonization
Malaysia has made an ambitious commitment to reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions, notably a 40% reduction (compared to 2005 levels) by 2020 and a 45% reduction (compared to 2005 levels) by
Time to Break the “Lock-In” Impediments to Chemicals Management
Despite enormous national, regional, and global efforts on chemical management, the widespread use of hazardous chemicals continues in many parts of the world even after decades of there being
Keeping it in the ground? Assessing global governance for fossil-fuel supply reduction
  • T. Rayner
  • Economics
    Earth System Governance
  • 2021
The Policy Role of Corporate Carbon Management: Co‐regulating Ecological Effectiveness
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for private sector participation in global carbon governance and corporations now seem to be heeding the call at an


Assessing carbon lock-in
The term 'carbon lock-in' refers to the tendency for certain carbon-intensive technological systems to persist over time, 'locking out' lower-carbon alternatives, and owing to a combination of linked
Climate Change and the Economics of Targeted Mitigation in Sectors with Long-Lived Capital Stock
Mitigation investments in long-lived capital stock (LLKS) differ from other types of mitigation investments in that, once established, LLKS can lock-in a stream of emissions for extended periods of
Overcoming inertia: insights from evolutionary economics into improved energy and climate policies
The ‘efficiency paradox’ has generated controversy and suggests that mainstream economics is not neutral in the way it deals with climate change. An alternative economic framework, evolutionary
Influence of socioeconomic inertia and uncertainty on optimal CO2-emission abatement
Following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, governments will negotiate, in Kyoto this December, an agreement to mitigate anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions. Here we use a