GLASGOW — Today, President Biden announced the formation of a First Movers Coalition (FMC) under the leadership of the State Department through U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry and the World Economic Forum. This first-ever buyer’s club, launched with more than 25 Founding Members, is designed to propel innovation and scale new decarbonization technologies, and will work to create demand-side commitments for low-carbon products in the aviation, shipping, steel, trucking, cement, chemicals, aluminum sectors as well as for direct air capture.
“We can’t meet our midcentury climate targets unless we eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from every major sector of the economy, including marine shipping, aviation, heavy trucking, and other hard-to-electrify parts of the transportation sector,” said Jonathan Lewis, Director of Transportation Decarbonization at CATF. “Corporate-side initiatives like Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels in the marine sector are essential; they need to be matched by the implementation of ambitious clean energy policies by countries around the world.”
“With 50% of emissions reductions expected to come from carbon-free technologies that are not yet available at scale, innovation is imperative for decarbonization,” said Lee Beck, International Director, Carbon Capture at CATF. “Creating demand for low-carbon products is a crucial part of closing the commercialization gap for technologies like carbon capture and storage to decarbonize cement and steel, and direct air capture and storage to deliver carbon removal. This area has long been elusive and limited to government procurement. The First Movers Coalition is a crucial step in the right direction, sending a strong market signal all around the world and a willingness to address the green premium.”
The industries covered by the First Mover Coalition account for about one third of global emissions and will require the commercialization of carbon management technologies like carbon capture and storage and direct air capture as well as electrification and zero-carbon fuels.
“Carbon management is critical for cement manufacturing and conventional steelmaking and chemicals production, and zero-carbon fuels like hydrogen are expected to play a key role decarbonizing heavy transportation as well as fueling next-generation industrial processes”, said Magnolia Tovar, Director, Zero Carbon Fuels, Europe at CATF. “Carbon capture, including carbon captured directly from air, could one day be used with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels for aviation and other sectors”.
“Demand-side commitments and market creation are key to driving the innovation needed to decarbonize the global economy, but we also need climate-forward innovation policy to complement them and help commercialize these technologies”, urged Tovar.
In the U.S., the Build Back Better Act includes provisions such as direct grants, incentives for zero-carbon fuels, and a commercialization policy package for carbon management technologies — all of which will help the U.S. steel and aluminum industries achieve lower carbon content over time and improve U.S. competitiveness in a decarbonizing world. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which has already passed the U.S. Senate, includes cost-share grants and low and zero interest loans for hydrogen, CO2 storage, and direct air capture hubs.
In the EU, the Fit for 55 Package includes proposals to increase the funding available for innovative low-carbon technologies and create carbon contracts for differences as part of the effort to reform the bloc’s Emissions Trading System, along with relevant infrastructure policies. This will set the stage for EU members to further invest in technology innovation that will help decarbonize the industry and will need to be accompanied by national policies.
Beck continued: “CATF is looking forward to working with the First Movers Coalition to refine the details of its demand-side commitments, and with governments to advance the climate-forward innovation policies we need to maximize their impact.”
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About Clean Air Task Force
Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad.