The electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is a promising method for both recycling of atmospheric CO 2 and storing renewably produced electrical energy in stable chemical bonds. In this paper, we review the current challenges within this promising area of research. Here we provide an overview of key findings from the perspective of improving the selectivity of reduction products, to serve as a contextual foundation from which a firmer understanding of the field can be built. Additionally, we discuss recent innovations in the development of catalytic materials selective toward C 3 and liquid products. Through this, we form a basis from which key mechanisms into C 3 products may be further examined. Carbon–carbon (C–C) bond formation provides a key step in the reduction of CO 2 to energy dense and high value fuels. Here we demonstrate how variations in catalytic surface morphology and reaction kinetics influence the formation of multi-carbon products through their impact on the formation of C–C bonds. Finally, we discuss recent developments in the techniques used to characterise and model novel electrocatalysts. Through these insights, we hope to provide the reader with a perspective of both the rapid progress of the field of electrocatalysis, as well as offering a concise overview of the challenges faced by researchers within this rapidly developing field of research.