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Wind turbines and solar morning.Project Description

An increasing number of companies and governments around the world are pledging to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the face of mounting risks from global climate change. Given its technological, financial, and natural resource endowments, the United States is well-placed to lead by example. The Net-Zero America transition scenarios aim to inform U.S. policy and investment decisions around achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Comprehensive national-level modeling is used to define a diversity of technological pathways that would achieve net-zero emissions. Subsequent analysis is quantifying the scale and cost of physical assets, institutional change, and human-resource efforts for all sectors over time. A high level of spatial definition helps to illustrate the extraordinary scale, geographic impact, and pace of changes needed to achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Significant challenges and potential bottlenecks are implied, and provide a focus for future research to understand how best to address transition inhibitors.

Researchers

Eric Larson; Jesse Jenkins; Chris Greig; Steve Pacala, Rob Socolow, Robert Williams; Erin Mayfield; Andrew Pascale; Chuan Zhang; Joshua Drossman; Rick Duke; Rich Birdsey; Keith Paustian; Amy Swan; Emily Leslie; EJ Baik; Ryan Jones; Ben Haley

Additional Resources

Big but affordable effort needed for America to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Princeton study shows – Environment Half Century, Princeton University
Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) Annual Report: Net-Zero America: Finding Pathways to a Carbon-Neutral Future (pdf page)
Getting to zero: Can America transition to a net-zero emissions energy system? – Center for Policy Research in Energy and the Environment (CPREE)
The Net-Zero America Project: Finding Pathways to a Carbon-Neutral Future – High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI)