Mission Possible Partnership: Paths to net zero for carbon intensive industries

by David Fleschen

Companies from the steel, aviation and shipping industries are mobilizing multi-trillion dollar plans that provide a path for their respective sectors to reach net zero by 2050 and to make significant emissions reductions within the next decade as part of the Mission Possible Partnership.

Ahead of COP26, the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), an organization dedicated to decarbonizing seven of the hardest to abate industries, is releasing plans and the estimated costs of slashing carbon emissions for three sectors – steel, shipping and aviation – often ignored in national plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions that form the basis of negotiations at COP.

Together, the three industries addressed in these initial plans emit close to 6 Gt of carbon dioxide per year in the global atmosphere, and are absolutely critical to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C.

In less than two years, MPP has convened more than 300 corporate leaders from the seven harder-to-abate sectors, along with their suppliers, customers and financial institutions to develop clear paths to net zero across their value chains and start taking the first steps on that path. Among the participants are ArcelorMittal, Volvo, DHL, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Rio Tinto, JSW Group, BASF, SABIC, Heidelberg Cement, Dalmia Cement, Bank of America, HSBC, Credit Suisse, UBS, Maersk, Wan Hai Lines and Tata Steel.

Making the Impossible Possible

The costs of decarbonizing the steel, shipping and aviation sectors and the details on how exactly these industries will drive carbon emissions to zero are based on landmark science with clear milestones and metrics to monitor progress. The plans also offer policymakers a guide for regulations and investment.

Chad Holliday, Co-Chair at MPP said: “The kind of change we are talking about to get these industries to net zero is unprecedented. The climate emergency is a fight for our lives. The good news is that we now know more on how to keep the planet below 1.5 degrees and have shown radical collaboration is possible, even among competitors, despite a global pandemic. MPP’s Sector Transition Strategies provide the map to guide corporates, financial institutions and governments in the years to come.”

Commenting on the launch of the MPP sector transition strategy for steel Aditya Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal, said: “The MPP sector transition strategy clearly sets out the challenges for the steel industry to decarbonise as well as two illustrative pathways for the sector to achieve net zero. The most important message is that we can only achieve the sectors potential with the support and engagement of the full supply chain as well as policy makers and the financial sector. I believe this sector transition strategy can be an important catalyst for harnessing the power of a multi stakeholder approach and enabling the steel sector to achieve its full decarbonisation potential and make a significant contribution to the 2050 net zero target.”

A second wave of announcements planned for 2022 will establish industry-backed carbon reduction pathways for the cement, aluminum, trucking and chemical industries which receives today a significant accelerator with the announcement of the The Low Carbon Emitting Technologies initiative (LCET) backed by 10 major chemical companies and supported by MPP.

Setting the tone for COP26

In addition to industry, the finance sector is also beginning to rise to the challenge. MPP is working to unlock investment in low-carbon solutions in industry and mobility by working with RMI’s Center for Climate-Aligned Finance to develop climate-aligned finance agreements for financial institutions across all seven MPP sectors, with a current focus on the steel sector, and with the World Economic Forum’s Transition Finance Initiative to develop blueprints for breakthrough financing and de-risking solutions.

Faustine Delasalle Co-Executive Director of MPP says, “When industry and finance leaders come together and align behind a strategic plan to decarbonize a sector, it creates confidence and emboldens decisionmakers. The MPP sector transition strategies provide a clear plan of attack to bring down emissions. Now we must turn to implementing this plan. But policymakers need to do their part to drive investment at a bigger scale and faster pace.”

Focused on sectors often neglected in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions, MPP is also setting the tone for COP by calling on policymakers to recognize the critical importance of massive investment in clean energy supply and industrial policies like carbon pricing as well as the need for bolder international agreements at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for aviation and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for shipping.

Anthony Hobley, Co-Executive Director of MPP says, “Despite the pandemic, there is unprecedented momentum and willingness to collaborate to accelerate decarbonization in the most carbon-intensive sectors of the economy. With COP26 around the corner, the committed community of business leaders that MPP and its partners convene are demonstrating powerfully that corporates are not waiting for governments to act, but that they do need policy support to be successful.”

Source and Graphic: Mission Possible Partnership

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