Climate Solutions Series

Exploring paths to net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

About the Project

To stabilize the climate and prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change, we must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net-zero by or soon after 2050.

The Climate Solutions Series brings together a wide range of experts to examine ways to reach net-zero GHG emissions in different sectors of the economy. This series of six public events opened with a discussion of emissions pathways; the following five events will focus on power, transportation, industry, and buildings, and conclude with carbon dioxide removal technologies that cut across multiple economic sectors. Each of these five events will highlight technology pathways, enabling policy environments, and current and potential private sector contributions to achieve deep decarbonization.

The CSIS Energy Security and Climate Change Program will release analysis examining the path to decarbonization of each sector following each session.


January 23, 2020: Deep Decarbonization Scenarios
The first session looks at various pathways to net-zero emissions, ranging from a significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption and major behavior changes with little reliance on “negative emissions,” to smaller structural changes with a heavy reliance on technologies to reduce carbon from point sources and the atmosphere. The event features a presentation on these various pathways, followed by a facilitated discussion featuring perspectives from multiple levels of government.

View the Deep Decarbonization Pathways resource brief here.

March 30, 2020: AUDIO EVENT: Decarbonizing the Electric Power Sector
The second session features a discussion of how to decarbonize the electric power sector by 2050. It covers key themes for the power sector, including: managing a changing power mix, the importance of both deployment and innovation, and how wealthy countries can help low-income countries develop on a low-carbon pathway. This audio event consists of individual interviews with experts followed by a collection of themes that emerged from their interviews.

View the Decarbonizing the Electric Power Sector resource brief here.

May 27, 2020: Decarbonizing Global Transport
The third session examines the various aspects of the transportation sector and issues involved in its decarbonization. Dan Sperling (UC Davis) provides an overview of the transportation sector and his perspective on the “three revolutions” of electrification, automation, and ridesharing. Anand Shah (Ola Electric) follows with remarks on decarbonizing personal transport. Dan McGrath (DHL) shares DHL’s perspective on decarbonizing freight and shipping. Shoshanna Saxe (University of Toronto) discusses her research on how our infrastructure choices affect the sustainability of cities. The session closes with a panel discussion on the policy and technological aspects of the decarbonization of global transport, moderated by Nikos Tsafos (CSIS).

View the Decarbonizing Global Transport resource brief here.

July 28, 2020: Decarbonizing Heavy Industry
The fourth session looks at how to decarbonize energy-intensive industries like chemicals and steel. Rebecca Dell (ClimateWorks Foundation) gives an overview of the industrial sector, the sources of emissions, and the policy landscape involved in reducing emissions from manufacturing and energy-intensive industry. Andreas Bode (BASF) provides the perspective of a major company in the chemicals industry and how the industry is attempting to reduce emissions from its products and processes. Adam Rauwerdink (Boston Metal) then elaborates on the experiences of a small startup attempting to decarbonize the production of iron, steel, and other metals. The session closes with a panel discussion on the policy and technological aspects of the decarbonization of heavy industry, moderated by Sarah Ladislaw (CSIS).

View the Decarbonizing Heavy Industry resource brief here.

September 15, 2020: Decarbonizing the Built Environment
The fifth session examines emissions from the buildings sector and the opportunities and challenges for its decarbonization. Clay Nesler (Johnson Controls) gives an overview of the buildings sector, the sources of emissions, and issues related to the decarbonization of the sector. Debbie Weyl (World Resources Institute) shares how opportunities and challenges to decarbonization differ around the world. Amy Cortese (New Buildings Institute) then discusses the domestic environment for zero-carbon buildings in the U.S. The session closes with a panel discussion on the policy and technological aspects of the decarbonization of buildings, moderated by Philippe Benoit (CSIS).

View the Decarbonizing the Built Environment resource brief here.

November 12, 2020: Carbon Dioxide Removal Solutions

The sixth and final session examines technological and nature-based solutions for atmospheric carbon removal and storage. Roger Aines (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) gives an overview of carbon removal methods. Erin Burns (Carbon180) discusses the technical and policy opportunities and challenges for direct air capture. Cathy Macdonald (The Nature Conservancy) then discusses her organization’s approach to nature-based carbon solutions and the policy framework necessary for them. The session closes with a panel discussion on how carbon removal solutions contribute to reaching net-zero global GHG emissions and the outlook for their deployment, moderated by John Larsen (Rhodium Group, CSIS Energy).

View the Carbon Dioxide Removal Solutions resource brief here.

This project is made possible by the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Company.