November 13, 2019
Contact: Alec Gerlach, GerlachA@c2es.org, 703-516-0621
C2ES and Leading Companies Release Comprehensive Agenda for Decarbonizing U.S. Economy
Outlines Policies Needed Over Coming Decade to Achieve Carbon Neutrality
WASHINGTON—The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a comprehensive new agenda outlining the policies needed over the coming decade to put the United States on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Getting to Zero: A U.S. Climate Agenda was developed with input from leading companies across major economic sectors. It recommends a long-term federal policy framework and an extensive set of complementary federal, state and local policies focused on key sectors and promising technologies.
The agenda is the latest product of C2ES’s Climate Innovation 2050 initiative, which brings together more than three dozen companies in the power, transportation, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, cement, high-tech, finance and agricultural sectors to address U.S. decarbonization challenges.
“The science makes absolutely clear that we must decarbonize our economy as quickly as possible. This calls for strong, sustained leadership from both government and the private sector,” said C2ES president Bob Perciasepe. “The strong participation we had from companies in developing this ambitious agenda is another sign that mainstream business understands the urgent need for climate action.”
Getting to Zero will be formally released at a Washington, D.C., event today with remarks by U.S. House Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Exelon Generation President and CEO Kenneth Cornew, and representatives of Dow, Entergy, Intel Corporation, LafargeHolcim USA, and Mars, Inc.
As the foundation for a U.S. decarbonization strategy, the agenda recommends that Congress set a national goal of achieving net zero emissions no later than 2050 and establish an overarching statutory framework, including an economy-wide carbon pricing program. It also calls on Congress and state and local governments to:
- Ramp up federal investment in climate-related research and development to $20 billion a year, plus up to $100 billion over the next decade for high-impact demonstration projects;
- Require the use of carbon capture or sequestration-based emission offsets for fossil fuel-fired power generation by a date certain;
- Set greenhouse gas performance standards ensuring that half of new light-duty vehicle sales are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035, and quickly deploy ZEV charging and refueling infrastructure;
- Establish federal standards regulating methane emissions across the oil and gas value chain, including unintentional leaks and natural gas flaring and venting;
- Phase federal subsidies away from higher-carbon energy sources and provide federal tax credits for zero-carbon power generation (including renewables, nuclear power and energy storage), zero-emission cars and trucks, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS);
- Strengthen incentives for farmers to adopt practices that increase carbon sequestration in soils, including by authorizing them as offsets in a carbon pricing program;
- Set state and local goals and building standards to decarbonize residential and commercial buildings through energy efficiency, electrification and other forms of fuel switching;
- Ratify and implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
- Establish mandatory Securities and Exchange Commission requirements for public companies to make public material climate-related financial disclosures, and integrate climate-related risks into the Federal Reserve’s stress testing of financial institutions;
- Minimize any cost burden on low-incomes families and small businesses and help communities reliant on high-carbon industries develop new sources of jobs and tax revenue;
- Accelerate the development of fuels and technologies with strong potential to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, including hydrogen, bioenergy, digitalization, and CCUS; and
- Review national progress every four years to inform future policies and to update the United States’ nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.
The agenda also recommends steps companies should take on their own, including the adoption of carbon-neutrality goals and actively supporting decarbonization policies.
“There’s no question – this is an extraordinarily ambitious agenda and implementing it will require far greater political will,” said Perciasepe. “But many pieces of this agenda could be enacted on a bipartisan basis right now and there’s no excuse for not getting started.”
C2ES will continue working with companies through the Climate Innovation 2050 initiative to advance and further elaborate the recommendations outlined in Getting to Zero.
C2ES thanked The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Energy Foundation, and the Intel Corporation for their support of this work, and the following companies for their input to the agenda: AECOM; Arizona Public Service Corporation; BASF; BHP; BP; Cargill; Dow; DTE Energy; Entergy Corporation; Equinor US, Exelon Corporation; Intel Corporation; Johnson Controls; LafargeHolcim USA; Mars, Inc.; Microsoft; National Grid; Novartis; Pepsico; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Public Service Enterprise Group; and Toyota Motor North America. A company’s participation does not represent an endorsement of the full contents of the report.
Company Statements on Getting to Zero
“The message is clear – we all need to do more to reduce carbon emissions. As the leading producer of clean energy in the U.S., Exelon recognizes the important role our industry plays in de-carbonizing the U.S. economy, and we’re committed to helping to drive the very business and policy outcomes needed to achieve carbon neutrality.”
- Ken Cornew; President and CEO; Exelon Generation
“Addressing climate change is one of the greatest social and economic problems ever faced by humanity. At Dow we accept the scientific consensus that climate change caused by increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activity has serious consequences for the planet and society if left unaddressed. We believe that climate change requires everyone working together, and as such we have engaged since the beginning in the multi sector effort through C2ES’s Climate Innovation 2050 initiative. Getting to Zero successfully outlines key strategies, actions and policies needed to have a path towards decarbonization.”
- Gloriamar Gamez; Energy Manager, Climate Change, Renewables and Regulatory; Dow
“Getting to zero will be a massive challenge requiring best efforts by all sectors of the economy. Under C2ES’ leadership, this report goes a long way to map out sensible – and doable – paths for many sectors, including technology.”
- Steve Harper; Global Director, Environment, Energy and Sustainability Policy; Intel Corporation
“We’re pleased to have engaged with companies across multiple industry sectors through the Climate Innovation 2050 initiative. Electrification is an attractive decarbonization solution for many industries, but as described in this report and Entergy’s own climate report, the power sector also is in need of decarbonization solutions. This report outlines common sense policies and provides a road map for us all to enhance our work across and between sectors on reducing carbon emissions. This is the vision of a new Gulf Coast Carbon Collaborative launching in early December in New Orleans.”
- Rick Johnson; Director, Sustainability; Entergy Corporation
“LafargeHolcim and the cement and concrete industry play an important role in decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Smart policies, like those outlined in Getting to Zero: A U.S. Climate Agenda, can both reduce climate risk and strengthen U.S. competitiveness. We’re committed to working in partnership with investors, policymakers and the public to deliver climate solutions.”
- Michael LeMonds; Vice President of Environment, Land and Government Affairs; LafargeHolcim USA
“We are pleased to have collaborated with leading companies across sectors on the Getting to Zero report which identifies key policy opportunities to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”
- Kathleen McGinty; Global Vice President of Government Relations; Johnson Controls
“Duke Energy commends C2ES for their thoughtful and comprehensive report, which provides important suggestions for how the U.S. can achieve deep decarbonization and recognizes the important role of natural gas in the power sector’s emission reductions thus far. We agree that an effective deep decarbonization strategy will require the utilization of existing and emerging zero-carbon technologies—such as renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture—as well as an aggressive commitment to the development of innovative energy solutions. Duke Energy recently announced our own plans to achieve at least 50% carbon reduction by 2030, and net-zero by 2050.”
- Vicky Sullivan; Federal Environmental and Energy Policy Director; Duke Energy
About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.