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In Glasgow, I saw three big shifts in the climate conversation

One big shift is that clean-energy innovation is higher on the agenda than ever. The world needs to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050. As I argue in the book I published this year, accomplishing that will require a green Industrial Revolution in which we decarbonize virtually the entire physical economy: how we make things, generate electricity, move around, grow food, and cool and heat buildings. The world already has some of the tools we’ll need to do that, but we need a huge number of new inventions too.

So at an event like this, one way I measure progress is by the way people are thinking about what it’ll take to reach zero emissions. Do they think we already have all the tools we need to get there? Or is there a nuanced view of the complexity of this problem, and the need for new, affordable clean technology that helps people in low- and middle-income countries raise their standard of living without making climate change worse?

Six years ago, there were more people on the we-have-what-we-need side than on the innovation side. This year, though, innovation was literally on center stage. One session of the World Leaders Summit, where I got to speak, was exclusively about developing and deploying clean technologies faster.

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