Bataille, CGF (2019). Physical and policy pathways to net‐zero emissions industry. WIREs Clim Change. 2020; 11:e633.
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.