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WIREs Clim Change
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Physical and policy pathways to net‐zero emissions industry

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Abstract Several recent studies have identified emerging and near‐commercial process and technological options to transition heavy industry to global net‐zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid‐century, as required by the Paris Agreement. To reduce industrial emissions with sufficient speed to meet the Paris goals, this review article argues for the rapid formation of regional and sectoral transition plans, implemented through comprehensive policy packages. These policy packages, which will differ by country, sector, and level of development, must reflect regional capacities, politics, resources, and other key circumstances, and be informed and accepted by the stakeholders who must implement the transition. These packages will likely include a mix of the following mutually reinforcing strategies: reducing and substituting the demand for GHG intense materials (i.e., material efficiency) while raising the quantity and quality of recycling through intentional design and regulation; removal of energy subsidies combined with carbon pricing with competitiveness protection; research and development support for decarbonized production technologies followed by lead markets and subsidized prices during early stage commercialization; sunset policies for older high carbon facilities; electricity, hydrogen and carbon capture, and storage infrastructure planning and support; and finally, supporting institutions, including for a “just workforce & community transition” and monitoring and adjustment of policy effectiveness. Given the paucity of industrial decarbonization perspectives available for in‐transition and less‐developed countries, the review finishes with a discussion of priorities and responsibilities for developed, in‐transition and less developed countries. This article is categorized under: Climate Economics > Economics of Mitigation Climate and Development > Decoupling Emissions from Development
Decarbonization options by key emissions sources in a net‐zero energy system (% of today's combustion and process emissions). Source: “Direct electrifiables” (i.e., existing electrified end uses, all personal transport, buildings, and light industry) are based on combining the IEA World Energy Balances Database and the literature reviewed
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Industry heat and feedstock needs in a hybrid net‐zero energy system. Source: Author, based on literature
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Decarbonization strategies by industrial sector (MMt CO2e)
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The cycle of defining material end‐use needs, design to meet them, production, use and reuse, recycling, or disposal
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2016 Global combustion and process CO2 emissions (MMt CO2e) by nonenergy industry sectors. Self‐generation of heat and electricity included with sectors. Sources: IEA World Energy Balances (2018 version), Worldsteel.org, Lehne and Preston ()
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2016 Global combustion and process CO2 emissions by sector (MMt CO2e)
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Firm, sector, and government roles during accelerated commercialization of industrial net‐zero greenhouse gas (GHG) technologies
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Decarbonizing industrial demand and production
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Climate and Development > Decoupling Emissions from Development
Climate Economics > Economics of Mitigation

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