WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moving to accelerate the country’s transition to a net-zero future, the U.S. Climate Alliance today released a new resource — Enabling Industrial Decarbonization: A Policy Guidebook for U.S. States — that details strategies and pathways for policymakers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industrial manufacturing sector.
“This guidebook helps fill the current industrial decarbonization knowledge gap and enables states to accelerate, tailor, and prioritize action to help get us to net zero.” said Alliance Managing Director Taryn Finnessey. “The transformation ahead is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to make American manufacturing more competitive, create more jobs, diversify the workforce, and advance environmental justice.”
Globally, industrial energy and electricity consumption account for 34 percent of net GHG emissions, the largest emissions source by far. Although industrial GHG emissions remained flat over the past decade in the U.S., the sector is projected to become the largest source of national GHG emissions by 2030 absent additional policy intervention.
Within the industrial sector, energy consumption typically parallels GHG emissions, and manufacturing, by far, accounts for the greatest share of energy consumption in the sector (81 percent). As such, the guidebook prioritizes action around the seven subsectors that account for the majority of energy consumption and GHG emissions from manufacturing: chemical production; petroleum refining; iron and steel production; cement production; glass production; forest product production; and food and beverage processing.
While each of these subsectors faces different challenges and opportunities to reduce GHG emissions over different timescales, the guidebook recommends that state policymakers consider five cross-cutting strategies — or pillars — for industrial decarbonization. These include: efficiency; electrification; low-carbon fuels and feedstocks; carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies; and procurement.
Drawing from a landscape analysis of more than 100 state policies, the guidebook details the multiple policy levers states can utilize — and identifies other important considerations — to enable and advance the five decarbonization pillars. These include: state climate planning and governance; research, development, demonstration, and deployment; carbon pricing; financial incentives; regulatory standards; and various supporting actions like investing in low-carbon infrastructure, preferentially purchasing low-carbon products, and supporting worker training programs. The guidebook also notes complementary federal and international policy efforts that support industrial sector transitions, including new resources states can leverage from recent federal legislation. With swift, strategic, and innovative action, the guidebook finds that states are in a prime position to help accelerate the sector’s efforts to reach net-zero GHG emissions.
Notably, many of the solutions outlined in the guidebook borrow approaches and lessons learned from decarbonization efforts from other energy-related sectors like electricity, buildings, and transportation. State experience and learnings may also provide valuable perspective for the national discussion on the framework of industrial decarbonization policies.
This guidebook is part of a series of resources and tools released by the Alliance to support state-led climate action across sectors and policy areas, including: Natural and Working Lands and Climate Action: A State Guide to Enhance the Sector’s Contribution to State and National Climate Goals; The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: A Guide for State Officials; The Just and Equitable Transition State Policy Framework and its accompanying Resource Guide; The Governors’ Climate Resilience Playbook; and Building Decarbonization Roadmap among others. It was produced in collaboration with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research organization that develops policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change.
The guide can be read in full here.
Launched on June 1, 2017 by the governors of Washington, New York, and California to help fill the void left by the previous administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the Alliance has grown to include governors from across the U.S. Governors in the Alliance have pledged to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, at least 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, and collectively achieve overall net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050.
Alliance states and territories are achieving lower levels of air pollution, delivering more energy savings to homes and businesses, preparing more effectively for climate impacts, generating more electricity from zero-carbon sources, and collectively employing over 40% more workers in the clean energy sector than the rest of the country. For more information on Alliance members’ bipartisan, cross-sector climate action, see our Fact Sheet.