A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


Driving low-carbon transitions and productivity growth

This project investigates how an accelerated zero-carbon transition might affect UK productivity in the near and longer term and what policies, institutional frameworks and behaviours will be needed to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks associated with accelerated zero-carbon transitions. Both questions are closely related as the productivity effects of low-carbon transitions are not fixed and pre-determined, but endogenous and dependent on actor choices and strategies.

The research aims to better understand how interacting techno-economic and actor-related processes bring about tipping points that drive the deployment of low-carbon technologies, lower costs, and increase productivity. Specifically, it suggests that low-carbon transitions and productivity growth initially go through long periods of limited change, due to negative feedbacks, followed by rapid acceleration when tipping points are crossed and positive feedbacks kick in.

Additionally, the project includes case studies of low-carbon innovations crossing those tipping points, such as electric vehicles and wind energy, a sub-project on modelling future transitions and productivity effects, and policy analysis and suggestions.

Project lead: Frank Geels (The University of Manchester)

The University of Manchester