Net-zero commitments went mainstream in 2020. There are now 22 regions, 452 cities, and over 1,100 companies with revenues over $11 trillion that have pledged to bring emissions to net zero by middle of the century.
In 2021 we’re going to spend a lot of time working backward from that. We’ll be trying to understand the pathways to get to net zero and what it means for today — for the technology and business of decarbonization.
That brings us to this week’s guest: Dr. Jesse Jenkins, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. He’s a well-known expert energy-systems modeler.
Last month Jesse and a team of colleagues at Princeton came out with a massive study called Net-Zero America that examines five pathways for the U.S. to decarbonize the entire economy.
Even without reading the report, you can probably guess some of the headlines: More renewables. More transmission. Electrify transportation. Carbon capture and carbon removal. But there are some other conclusions that are less obvious.
As more and more renewables come online, how will biomass, fossil fuels and hydrogen will fit into the multiple pathways to transition? We also examine the chicken-and-the-egg problem of CO2 transportation and CO2 conversion. And we ask: How much are these massive transition scenarios going to cost, and who’s paying?
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