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A situation in which the future development of a system, including its infrastructure, technologies, investments, institutions, and behavioural norms, is determined or constrained (‘locked in’) by historic developments.

In a climate change context, it occurs when occurs when: a carbon intensive pathway is chosen; once the pathway is taken, it is costly to change direction; andthe chosen pathway has net negative consequences for national economic development/economic competitiveness in the future.


ECA Carbon lock-in toolkit PDF