May 28, 2019
Contact: Alec Gerlach, GerlachA@c2es.org, 703-516-0621
US Companies Seek Pathways to 2050 Emission Targets
All-In Effort Indispensable to Avert Worst Climate Effects
Stream Today’s Event 1:30—3:30 PM: LIVE
WASHINGTON—A new report today from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), based on a year-long collaboration with leading companies, outlines alternative scenarios for decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Key takeaways include the importance of policy in driving technology deployment and the need for all-in effort that includes policymakers at all levels, companies, investors and the public.
Read the Report: Pathways to 2050: Alternative Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy
Review our Interactive Charts
With renewed interest in Washington in long-term climate solutions, the report highlights the fundamental shifts needed across the economy to reduce U.S. emissions 80 percent by 2050 and alternative pathways for achieving them. The report is part of C2ES’s Climate Innovation 2050 initiative and will inform a comprehensive decarbonization strategy to be released later this year.
More than 20 power, oil and gas, transportation, building, manufacturing, agricultural, industrial, and tech companies participated in the development of the three decarbonization scenarios presented in the report. The exercise was led by experts from C2ES, the RAND Corporation, and the Joint Global Change Research Institute.
“This is the first U.S. decarbonization analysis that benefits from close engagement with leading companies across all the key sectors,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “We and the companies came away from this exercise with a much keener sense that technology innovation will require a suite of drivers and no single policy will achieve the needed results. We’ll now draw on these insights as we develop recommendations for U.S. decarbonization strategies.”
Unlike many previous decarbonization studies focused primarily on technology pathways, the C2ES analysis considered policy options and broader social dynamics. Through a series of workshops, participants developed three distinct scenarios reflecting different drivers and types of policy, technology, business and consumer responses. Modeling showed that all three scenarios reduced emissions 80 percent by 2050.
In brief, the three scenarios are:
- A Competitive Climate: Strong international pressure in the form of carbon tariffs and growing recognition of the competitive benefits of low-carbon innovation lead to a strong, U.S. federal response, including an economy-wide price on carbon.
- Climate Federalism: Responding to economic opportunities and intensifying climate-related disasters, a growing number of U.S. states implement ambitious climate policies, leading to calls from business for a more harmonized national response.
- Low-Carbon Lifestyles: Increased urbanization, generational shifts, and technological breakthroughs lead to strong market demand for low-carbon consumption products and services, along with the emergence of innovative low-carbon business models.
In addition to detailed modeling results showing how the energy, emissions, and technology profiles of the economy and its major sectors vary across the scenarios, the report offers a set of key takeaways:
- Decarbonizing the U.S. economy requires fundamental shifts in the ways we generate energy, produce goods, deliver services, and manage lands.
- These fundamental shifts can be achieved through alternative pathways reflecting different drivers, contingencies, and societal choices.
- Decarbonization requires accelerated action from everyone—policy-makers at all levels, investors, entrepreneurs, consumers, voters, and companies across key sectors of the economy.
- The success of any pathway hinges on high levels of public support, expressed through stronger demand for effective policies and/or low-carbon goods and services.
- Decarbonization requires a broad suite of policies that drive investment and action by setting goals, targeting resources, providing incentives, and ensuring a level playing field.
- Technological innovation can greatly facilitate decarbonization but, without adequate policy drivers, is not sufficient to achieve it.
- The private sector is an essential partner in any decarbonization pathway, and timely business leadership can help ensure choices that are beneficial for both companies and society as a whole.
- Sectoral responses are highly interdependent—the pathway chosen by one sector may enhance or constrain the decarbonization options of others.
“The individual scenarios are interesting, but what’s most valuable are the insights you draw as you construct them and as you look across them,” said Perciasepe. “One of my key takeaways is that companies understand the urgency and magnitude of this challenge and are committed to working with others to deliver durable solutions.”
C2ES today will discuss the report at a Washington event beginning at 1:30 ET. The report’s authors will be joined by corporate leaders to present the findings and discuss how businesses are analyzing their own futures under various climate scenarios.
Please RSVP to C2ES communications director Alec Gerlach at GerlachA@c2es.org or 703-516-0621.
Release Event: Pathways to 2050: Alternative Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy
Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET
WATCH LIVE: LINK
Location: National Union Building
918 F St NW, 6th Floor South
Washington, DC 20004
Opening Remarks: Bob Perciasepe, President, C2ES
- Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, C2ES
- Jae Edmonds, Chief Scientist and Battelle Fellow, Joint Global Change Research Institute
- Ben Preston, Director, Community Health and Environmental Policy Program, RAND Corporation
Business Participant Panel:
- Bob Stout, Vice President & Head of Regulatory Advocacy & Policy, BP America Inc.
- Conrad Schatte, Director of Federal Governmental Affairs, Entergy
- Patricia DiOrio, Vice President for Strategy and Technology, National Grid
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.