Getting to Zero: A U.S. Climate Agenda

This report outlines a comprehensive agenda for decarbonizing the U.S. economy by 2050, with an emphasis on priority actions needed over the coming decade. This agenda was developed in close consultation with leading companies in key sectors through the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ (C2ES’s) Climate Innovation 2050 initiative. It builds on an earlier report, Pathways to 2050: Alternative Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy.

A strong body of scientific evidence underscores the imperative of decarbonizing the global economy in order to avoid the worst potential impacts of climate change. Key strategies for achieving that goal include increasing energy efficiency, decarbonizing the power sector, switching to electricity and other low- and zero-carbon fuels, reducing non-CO2 climate pollutants, and using both nature and technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

In the United States, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require action across society—by governments, the private sector, and the public at large. It will require both innovative technologies and strong policies to ensure they are deployed. And apart from reducing the grave risks of climate change, it will provide a strong foundation for continued U.S. growth and competitiveness.

Getting to Zero: A U.S. Climate Agenda recommends that a U.S. decarbonization strategy be guided by these key objectives: achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050, reestablishing U.S. global leadership on climate change, developing and mobilizing a broad array of technological solutions, promoting cost-effective solutions, protecting and enhancing U.S. competitiveness and energy security, ensuring an equitable transition, strengthening climate resilience, responding to new information and circumstances, and providing predictability to drive long-term investment.