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COP26: Mission Innovation targets decarbonization of cities, industry and accelerated CCS


New goals for 2030 target hard-to-abate sectors

US, China, India, EU back CO2 reduction goals

Aim to drive down cost of energy transition

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  • James Burgess
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Global leaders are targeting accelerated decarbonization of cities and industry, along with advancing carbon capture and storage technology, as the Mission Innovation group extends its goals on clean energy investment by 2030.

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The group, first established at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, aims to drive down costs of clean energy technology this decade, targeting hard-to-abate sectors, Mission Innovation said in a statement Nov. 9.

A basket of 70 energy transition-related price benchmarks assessed by S&P Global Platts has increased in value by over 53% in the eight months to the end of August. Among the biggest risers are battery metals, recycled plastics, electrolysis-derived hydrogen, voluntary carbon credits and guarantees of origin.

The Mission Innovation group of 23 governments responsible for over 90% of global public investment in clean energy innovation has extended its targets on clean energy development at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Mission Innovation -- which launched a set of other low-carbon projects on power systems, hydrogen and shipping in June -- has now set out ambitions to accelerate technologies for decarbonizing urban areas, eliminating emissions from industry, enable CO2 removal and increase production of renewable fuels, chemicals and materials.

"To raise climate ambition and drive the clean energy transition, we need to make major investments to develop, demonstrate, and scale up innovative technologies to enable a swift and affordable net-zero transition," US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said in the statement.

The group includes the US, China, India, the European Commission and the UK.

The "missions" would "support the decarbonization of sectors responsible for 52% of global emissions," the group said in the statement.

Mission Innovation member governments are expected to invest over $250 billion in clean energy innovation by 2030, they said.

The group aims to "make clean energy solutions more affordable, accessible, and attractive than their alternatives by 2030," in collaboration with the private sector to achieve a critical "tipping point" in investment.

New missions

On cities, the group aims to deliver at least 50 large-scale urban decarbonization demonstration projects by 2030. It said cities account for almost three quarters of global energy consumption and 70% of emissions.

In the area of industry, the coalition said it would promote the adoption of emission reduction technologies at the end of planned maintenance cycles in steel, cement and chemicals plants, as companies in these sectors faced long payback periods for investments, with equipment lifetimes of over 20 years.

This could cut CO2 emissions by 60 billion mt. The three sectors were responsible for around 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the group said.

The US, Saudi Arabia and Canada would lead projects to advance CO2 removal technologies, enabling a reduction of 100 million mt/year globally by 2030.

The Mission Innovation group will also promote the replacement of fossil-based fuels, chemicals and materials with bio-based alternatives, led by India and the Netherlands, with further details from 2022.

Clean tech investment

Member governments have raised investment in clean energy innovation by $5.8 billion a year since 2015, with the potential to avoid over 21 billion mt/year of CO2 if the projects are fully deployed, the statement said.

"Innovation will play a critical role in this transition as around half of the emissions savings in 2050 will need to come from technologies that are today at demonstration or prototype stage," the International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

Accelerating innovations in energy and land use could reduce the cost of decarbonizing the energy system by 28%, saving $2.7 trillion a year by 2050, according to the Global Innovation Needs Assessment, backed by the UK and the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Energy innovations alone could unlock low-carbon value chains worth $1.5 trillion in gross value added, similar to that of the oil and gas production industry, it said.

S&P Global Platts Analytics modeling indicates the world is on course for emissions to peak in 2028, with global temperatures expected to rise by 2.8 C above pre-industrial levels.

Pre-COP26 national determined contributions by governments on emissions reductions "hardly move" this trajectory," Platts Analytics said in an Oct. 29 report. "The world needs to considerably bend the curve to achieve a 2 C outcome, let alone the 1.5 C Paris commitment," it said.