The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees C and achieve net greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of the century. For the United States, these goals imply reducing emissions at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Although U.S. emissions have been declining, they are projected to rise in coming decades and be only 12 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
Climate Innovation 2050 brings together more than two dozen leading companies to examine potential pathways toward substantially decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Sectors represented include power, transportation, finance, tech, oil and gas, chemicals, cement, manufacturing, and food/agriculture.
Working with the companies – and with climate modelers at the University of Maryland, and scenario experts at the RAND Corporation – C2ES is developing a range of scenarios for reducing U.S. emissions at least 80 percent by 2050. Later, Climate Innovation 2050 will produce decarbonization roadmaps outlining the policies, innovation strategies, and private sector actions needed in the near and medium term to achieve that goal.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review February 2018, DOE/EIA-0035(2018/02) (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy, 2018), and U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2018.
Sector by Sector
As an initial step, C2ES has produced a series of Climate Innovation 2050 briefs outlining emissions trends and projections, and decarbonization challenges and opportunities, in six key sectors:
Climate Innovation 2050 builds on a wide range of initiatives and analyses highlighting these overarching challenges in decarbonizing the U.S. economy:
- Switching fuels: Electrifying transportation, buildings and industrial sectors, and increasing the use of other low-carbon energy sources, will reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
- Decarbonizing power: The electrification of other sectors makes the further decarbonization of the power sector, through expanded use of renewables and other low- or zero-carbon generation sources, a high priority.
- Increasing efficiency: New technologies that improve fuel economy and increase energy efficiency in buildings, industry and other sectors can significantly reduce emissions across the economy.
- Sequestering carbon: Storing more carbon in soils and forests, and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for storage or utilization, are pivotal decarbonization strategies.
- Reducing non-CO2 emissions: Measures are also needed to reduce emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which account for roughly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
With the input of leading companies, Climate Innovation 2050 will more closely examine underlying issues and innovative solutions to develop a detailed vision of the practical steps needed to meet these urgent challenges.