Sheffield University researchers are backing calls for global action on climate change - warning of the economic costs to the planet of doing nothing.
Some experts argue that the expense of adopting new policies is too high for wealthy countries and fossil fuel industries in the current tough economic conditions.
But most developing countries insist the costs of inaction in the longer term will be many times greater than if nothing is done now.
Research in Sheffield suggests there are a number of economically viable options for a low carbon economy available - but that there are a host of political, social and economic constraints that could prevent them from being rolled out worldwide.
Researcher Dr Jojo Nem Singh said the problems could be tackled.
“Brazil is an exceptionally successful example of a country that has responded to fossil fuel consumption through long-term investments in the renewable energy sector.
“Brazil’s ethanol programme was developed initially through state investments, but with subsequent development through private sector participation. Today, Brazilian cars are run by a mixture of ethanol and crude oil.
“Renewable energy needs to have an economic rationale. For Brazil, the ethanol programme was the answer to its energy security problems and uncertainty in developing self-sufficiency in oil and gas. Our project is beginning to explore these economic and political conditions necessary for climate compatible strategies.”