There is an urgent need for new solutions that minimize the social, environmental, and economic damages caused by climate change. Many of these solutions are already available – it is a question of finding and scaling them.

It has been said many times and in many ways that climate change creates new and untapped business opportunities. And this is true. Climate change opens the door to new market opportunities and a pool of new innovations and business solutions. Many of these solutions utilize new technologies, designs and energy sources: they are front-running examples of how innovative new technologies offer ways of mitigating climate change and transforming planet-warming emissions into sustainable profit.

And here’s the good news: many of these solutions are already available, financially viable and scalable today.

Read more about new market opportunities and available solutions, and discover further information and many more solutions that tackle SDG13 on the Global Opportunity Explorer.

Opportunity: Upcycling carbon

Urgent carbon emission cuts at source are essential to mitigating catastrophic climate change: negative emissions are needed to keep us on track at well below 2°C. Business is increasingly discovering ways to upcycle carbon, generating more value, emitting less and accelerating carbon negative technologies.

Carbon-based products can tap into a vast number of growing markets such as methanol production, which has a forecast 7-9% CAGR to 2030. It is estimated that up to 10% of annual COemissions can be captured in these products, with a potential annual revenue opportunity of $800 billion to US$ 1.1 trillion. Key market drivers around this opportunity are technological advances which allow atmospheric COto be concentrated, as well as regulation and market-based policy tools delivering effective carbon prices.

Utilizing atmospheric carbon in new products does not tackle the root cause of climate change, and may only have a small climate mitigation impact. It must not be seen as a silver bullet or a reason not to pursue other solutions that accelerate progress towards a carbon-neutral economy. However, removing carbon from the atmosphere, and upcycling it into new products can be a way to decouple growth from carbon emissions, and provide competencies to accelerate the development of wider carbon negative technologies.

Solution: Captured carbon creates new value

New technology is being used by Indian firm Carbon Clean Solutions to capture carbon dioxide from industrial processes and use it to manufacture new products. In the effort to decarbonize industries which are emitting a great deal of CO2, there is an opportunity to make use of carbon as a resource. Noticing the potential in this symbiotic relationship, Carbon Clean Solutions developed the technology to capture carbon dioxide from industry and use it as a feedstock to produce commercially viable chemicals, bio-oils, materials and fuels. Carbon Clean Solutions is the only company to have delivered its technology to a site in India without subsidies, and to be showing the potential international scalability of its technology.

Key Goals addressed


SDG #9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure”
Retrofitting sustainable improvements such as carbon capture helps to bring down the environmental impact of heavily polluting industries.

SDG #13 “Climate Action”
Carbon Clean Solutions technology reduces the cost of CO₂ capture by 40%, accelerating the development of this sectorwhich is crucial to combating climate change.

Solution by: Carbon Clean Solutions
Deployed in: Global

Opportunity: Keeping it cool

As the planet warms and populations become increasingly urbanized, the demand for cooling is on the rise, but existing technology is outdated and heavily polluting. With an increasing need to reduce carbon emissions, this growing market presents more and more opportunities to reduce the need for cooling and make cooling efficient.

Today, air conditioning (AC) and refrigeration accounts for as much as 17% of global electricity demand. In the US alone, AC units lead to the emission of 117 million tons of carbon annually. While air-cooling systems have become more efficient over time, they still use significant power, placing huge demand on electricity grids at peak times. In addition, AC systems typically emit fluorinated gases which have significantly higher global warming potential than CO2. In cities, air conditioning can raise temperatures by more than 1°C locally, worsening the heat island effect. This vicious cycle means that keeping cool is making us hotter.

The growing demand for cooling, which is expected to overtake the global demand for heat by 2060, can be attributed primarily to a growing middle class living in hot urban environments, where air conditioning in buildings and cars is a necessity.

Market size and demand drivers

The value of the global AC market is forecast to exceed US$ 24 billion by 2020, and 1.6 billion new units are expected to be sold by 2050. Even today, more than 60 million air conditioners are sold in China each year. The data center cooling market alone is expected to grow to more than US$ 14 billion by 2021 at a CAGR of 15%.

As the global middle class expands and moves into urban areas that are becoming warmer due to climate change, the demand for innovative cooling solutions that deliver on the triple bottom line increases by the day.

Solution: Air-conditioning powered by nature

Purix’s solar air-conditioner is a sustainable alternative to conventional cooling. Powered by the sun, the air-conditioner reduces electricity consumption by up to 85%. With global living standards improving, the demand for cooling — and corresponding energy use — will increase, along with the negative environmental impact. In response to the growing need for alternatives, Purix has designed solarair conditioning. Unlike conventional AC systems, the Purix solarair conditioner does not include an energy consuming compressor unit. Instead, solar thermal energy absorbed by solar panels produces water vapour. The vapour is used by the Purix chiller as a refrigerant to produce chilled water which is then distributed to cooling devices. The water returns to the chiller in a closed-loop system.

Key Goals addressed


SDG #3 “Good Health and Well-being”
Alternatives to traditional AC systems improve dry, unhealthy indoorenvironments and reduce noise pollution, increasing mentaland physical well-being.

SDG #6 “Clean Water and Sanitation”
Despite converting solar heating into chilled water, the Purixair-conditioner does not require a water supply, and thereforecontributes to sustainable water management.

SDG #7 “Affordable and Clean Energy”
By powering air-conditioners with the sun, Purix uses up to 85% less electricity than traditional air-conditioners, significantly reducing the strain on electric grids.

Solution by: Purix
Deployed in: Italy

Opportunity: Sustainable shipping

International trade relies on shipping. Despite technological improvements, emissions continue to increase as trade increases. Decarbonizing short-haul shipping is an expanding market opportunity driven by developments in battery technology and alternative fuels, with the potential to help the sector’s low-carbon transition.

Sustainability is a growing priority for the sector’s multinational clients, creating demand for more sustainable shipping alternatives. As progress toward an internationally agreed strategy to tackle climate change in shipping continues, low-carbon alternatives offer economic benefits which are resilient against a turbulent future. Decarbonizing the shipping industry will involve a range of different approaches, including soft measures such as speed, capacity, and route optimization. While a zero-carbon shipping sector is not yet within reach, the new technologies coming to market are a step in the right direction. By rapidly implementing them in short-haul scenarios, the transition will be accelerated.

Solution: Zero-emission, autonomous delivery

The world’s first zero-emission, autonomous container feeder from Kongsberg will result in 40,000 fewer diesel-powered truck journeys per year. In the shipping container world, many behemoth ships are fed by smaller feeders that move cargo from port to portby land and sea, often with heavily polluting diesel emissions.The YARA Birkeland is a zero-emission, fully electric andautonomous solution to this problem. With a 7-9 MWh battery powering propulsion, the ship can carry up to 120 shipping containers at any one time. The vessel will cost US$ 25million, triple that of a conventional equivalent. However, withoutthe need for fuel or crew, the YARA Birkeland promises to cut annual operatingcosts by up to 90%. By taking trucks off the road, it will also contribute to safer, less congested roads.

Key Goals addressed


SDG #3 “Good Health and Well-being”
Autonomous, electric near-shore shipping eliminates harmful NOx and SOx emissions into the air, reducing the risk of respiratory diseases.

SDG #14 “Life Below Water”
The discharge of ballast water can damage marine life. This is no problem for the YARA Birkeland, which uses batteries in place of ballast.

SDG #17 “Partnerships for the Goals”
YARA has partnered with Kongsberg to find a sustainable alternative to 40,000 diesel-powered truck journeys per year.

Solution by: Kongsberg
Deployed in: Norway