That technological innovation is preferable to government regulation seems a common idea.
However there are a number of problems with this idea:
Technology is not magic, it will not always eventuate because we need it or because it would be nice if it arose. It may not arrive at the right time, at the right price, be easy to use, be usable at the scale required, or not have dire climate side effects.
‘The Market’ is not magic either, whatever you are told by people who are powerful in The Market. There is no reason to assume that innovative tech will be taken up, or that the best tech will be taken up. What counts, and pretty nearly always what counts, is how the company makes extra profit from it.
Because people think of tech as the magic solution, unworkable tech can be used as an excuse to keep on emitting pollution, and destroying ecologies. Indeed the tech does not even have to be installed to have this affect, as with Carbon Capture and Storage.
If PR and empty hype about technology increase profit more effectively than the technology iteself, then PR and hype will be used more than the technology is. There is no reason to think that the technology will be used.
Without regulation, there is no reason for innovative tech, to stop people from doing damage, especially if the corporation is gaining more profit from continuing as it has done in the way it knows how to.
People in corporations like other people, prefer the world to be smooth and stable, and introducing disruptive technology, may disrupt profits without foreseable good consequences. Hence they will avoid it. Computers took off, because they were an obvious way of standardising behaviour, regulating workers and allowed some tasks to be done much quicker than previously. They, in theory, got more work out of workers, which is always a corporate drive. Climate tech on the whole, does not do any of that.
Climate tech, without regulation may do little. For example renewables can be used to increase the energy supply cheaply, without decreasing the amount of fossil fuels that are used. This seems to be standard in many places, and it is standard in fossil fuel company spending – in which spending on exploration and new fossil fuels is at least 15 to 20 times higher than their spending on renewable development, as shown in this graph, The grey area represents expenditure on exploration for fossil fuels.
There is nothing to guarrantee that a technology will only have the effects we want, and will not be commandeered by standard destructive practice.
All markets depend on regulation, and regulation that can be enforced by the State or through the courts. All markets have power imbalances, which affect the market and its regulation. Succesful and rich companies will team up and try and abuse their position of success to make regulations that favour them. This is normal, and makes useful, generally beneficial, regulation difficult.
Without regulation adding to the pressures, most companies will not actually (as opposed to in PR) change their pollution, dispersion or their destructive extraction and climate change will continue to get worse, irrespective of the tech we have, or the tech we might imagine is coming soon.
Technology is useful, but we should work with the tech we have now, rather than imaginary innovative tech that may happen sometime in the future, or may never come.
We should regulate to impose emissions and destruction reduction. Consequences for breaking regulations should be enforced and should affect profit. Hopefully this would give corporations more incentive to work on the problems.
We should also sponsor technological private and governmental research to get better tech rather than leave it to the corporate sector and the market. After all many tech innovations have come from public money, not private money, and are more easily made available if their are no restrictive patents or copyright issues to face.