Heavy industry and heavy-duty transport could reach zero emissions by mid-century

© Volkswagen Ambitious progress is possible, even in society’s hardest to abate sectors. Whether we’re talking more efficient freight ships , electric short-haul flight or the cement industry stepping up to the challenge of the Paris Climate Accord , we regularly feature stories of heavy industry and/or heavy transportation trying to tackle its gargantuan carbon footprint. Yet for all the progress being made, we must also acknowledge that energy- and resource-intensive sectors of the economy are going to be among the hardest to decarbonize. Nevertheless, a new report from influential think tank Energy Transitions Commission suggests that net zero emissions is achievable by roughly mid-century, even in the hardest-to-reform sectors of the economy such as shipping, freight transport, cement manufacturing, plastics and aviation. What’s more, such a goal could be reached without too much of a cost burden (<0.5% of global GDP) on the economy. Solutions and timelines vary, of course, with electrification and/or fuel cells becoming cost competitive for ground transportation by around 2030, while biofuels may be necessary for harder to decarbonize applications like long-haul flight. Meanwhile, while carbon capture is likely to be unnecessary for power generation, it may be an important component if cement production […]

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