Challenging But Possible: New IPCC Report Cites Industry as Key Player in Meeting Net-Zero Targets

Challenging But Possible: New IPCC Report Cites Industry as Key Player in Meeting Net-Zero Targets

The Industrial Innovation Initiative (I3) released the following statement today regarding the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) installment of Assessment Report 6, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change Report from Working Group III. This statement may be attributed to Gabrielle Habeeb, Project Manager for the Industrial Innovation Initiative:

“Today the IPCC released AR6, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, wherein the world’s scientific community underscores the critical need to support a suite of climate solutions through coordinated policies, financial mechanisms, and technological innovation to deeply decarbonize our most challenging sectors, including industry.

The report focuses especially on mitigation opportunities, risks, and potential co-benefits in energy and urban systems, as well as across specific sectors, including industry. Unique to this report are chapters regarding the social aspects of mitigation, opportunities to reduce demand-side emissions, and the role of innovation and technology.

The inclusion of industry, innovation, and technology are especially noteworthy, as industry is the fastest growing emissions source and the third highest emitting sector in the US. The industrial sector poses a unique challenge to decarbonization due to the variety of industrial processes and configurations at play. The IPCC reaffirms, “Net-zero CO2 emissions from the industrial sector are challenging but possible.” Climate solutions must address the challenge of industrial decarbonization within the next decade if we are to achieve the midcentury climate and sustainable development goals aimed at preserving a safe and livable global environment.

To meaningfully cut industrial emissions, the IPCC calls for a revised suite of decarbonization solutions, including the shift to a more circular economy, managing material end-use demand, transitioning to fossil-free feedstocks, and supporting carbon management solutions. Electrification of industrial processes and the use of clean hydrogen in fuel and feedstock switching are identified as key mitigation options, as renewable energy costs continue to decline. Clean hydrogen has the added potential benefit of serving as a means of energy storage and providing grid balancing services.

The mitigation solutions proposed are cross-cutting and can be applied to various industry types. However, to achieve emissions reductions at the scale necessary, clean electricity and hydrogen, recycling programs, carbon management, and any associated infrastructure must scale up quickly and efficiently.

Federal policies must, therefore, continue to build on the investments made in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and deliver on the climate and energy provisions still pending in any forthcoming budget reconciliation package. Climate change mitigation will only be possible through coordinated efforts of policy – domestic and international, finance, and technological development. The urgency of this need cannot be overstated. The US must now step up to the challenge set by the IPCC and work to achieve a net-zero industrial sector by midcentury.”

###The Industrial Innovation Initiative (I3) is an ambitious coalition that aims to drive emissions reductions through policy change, supporting quality jobs and investment in key U.S. industrial sectors.  I3 builds on years of stakeholder engagement and work with state officials in the Midcontinent region, as well as extensive work advancing decarbonization solutions important to the industrial sector.

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