Closed borders, silent factories and shortages of components are slowing the deployment of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles worldwide, with little time left to avert dangerous climate change. Government incentives to bring home or ‘reshore’ manufacturing as part of economic-stimulus packages are making matters worse. As Andreas Goldthau and Llewelyn Hughes argue in Nature, governments should protect international trade networks in low-carbon technologies, to ensure that these keep getting better and cheaper as quickly as possible. Green industrial strategies should focus on developing innovations and bringing them to market, rather than replacing established supply chains for mature technologies. The article is available open access.