The goal of containing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures means that a fundamental shift and tremendous innovation will have to take place in the way that societies produce, distribute and consume goods and services.

Innovation comes in many forms, and transitions from a carbon-intensive to a low-carbon system can take many pathways. Such low-carbon transition scenarios, and the attendant risks and potential benefits are at the heart of the international Transition Pathways and Risk Analysis for Climate Change policies project (TRANSrisk).

This policy brief provides an overview of key research findings from the project. The brief also provides recommendations about how to support transition pathways and the innovation systems on which they depend. Policy recommendations incorporate results from project case studies, in combination with national, regional and global frameworks.

The report groups transition risks into six key categories: economic, regulatory/institutional, political, social, environmental, and technological risk.

Key findings on how to support innovation systems and transition pathways include:

  • Stakeholder-centred dialogues help to build a common vision for transitions.
  • Long-term but flexible policy frameworks, and sector-specific targets are needed.
  • Innovation systems should be strengthened.
  • Lower-carbon fuels require a level playing field to compete with fossil fuels.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the impact of transitions must be conducted in ways that are transparent and credible.