The CO2 Question: Technical Progress and the Climate Crisis

We analyze green and brown R&D activity worldwide and its effects in reducing carbon emissions. Innovating companies with higher carbon emissions engage more in brown R&D and less in green R&D. Despite a steady rise in the share of green R&D, green innovation does not predict future reductions in carbon emissions of innovating firms, non-innovating firms in the same sector, firms in other sectors, and across countries, whether in the short term (one year after filing a green patent) or in the medium term (three or five years out). Rather, green innovation predicts higher indirect emissions in related industries.