Advanced and developing economies partner to transform heavy industries accounting for a third of global emissions

Energy & Industry Day at COP28 sees the launch of a new wave of breakthrough country and industry partnerships to grow global markets for low-carbon industrial products in high emitting sectors, such as steel, cement and heavy transport, accounting for around a third of global emissions. This comes alongside the creation of major new country collaborations aimed at helping developing economies to decarbonize as they grow.

These partnerships build on the 29 Breakthrough Agenda Priority Actions – launched by COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber at the World Climate Action Summit alongside a coalition of governments in the Breakthrough Agenda representing 60 percent of global GDP, and including the US, Germany, France, UK, Canada, UAE, Morocco, Egypt and India. Today, governments and industries build on existing progress to set out new collaborative actions to spur immediate progress, including:

  • A multi-billion-dollar first-of-a-kind Green Public Procurement Pledge for green steel, concrete, and cement, led by the UK, Germany, Canada and the US to catalyse market demand and investment in low carbon solutions.
  • New ‘matchmaking platforms’ to scale finance for low-carbon hydrogen and industry  to expand emerging and developing economies’ access to finance and technical support.
  • New COP Presidency’s Declaration of Intent on Certification for Hydrogen, co-led by Germany, Namibia and the UAE, a crucial step to pave the way for global, cross-border trade for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.
  • Turbo-charging the delivery of a global portfolio of the most viable ‘lighthouse’ projects for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, focusing international efforts to overcome barriers delaying their progress, as recommended by the recent World Bank report ‘Scaling Hydrogen Financing for Development’
  • Alignment on principles for green steel standards, backed by the world’s leading standards bodies and major industry associations, to unlock the global market for green steel and increase international competitiveness against today’s high carbon products.
  • Supercharging the transition to zero emission vehicles in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies through a holistic global programme for strengthening finance and technical support in collaboration with ZEVTC member countries, including US, UK, Canada and India, including expanded e-bus procurement aggregators, new country cluster initiatives and an expanded Rapid Response Facility.

The Breakthrough Agenda will also launch workstreams across two new significant sectors on 6th December critical to achieving 1.5C: a Buildings Breakthrough, co-led by the governments of France and Morocco, and a Cement & Concrete Breakthrough, co-led by the governments of Canada and UAE that will together be backed by 33 countries.

These actions, in response to the 2023 Breakthrough Report release co-authored by the IEA, IRENA and High-Level Champions’  in September, come at a critical juncture for heavy industry, where early progress is at risk of stalling but decisive and targeted interventions could supercharge implementation and create tipping points within these challenging but vital sectors.

Billion dollar green industry demand growth 

At the same, fresh data reveals significant growth in private sector demand for low carbon industrial products and green energy.

  • The First Movers Coalition, which represents the world’s largest private sector clean demand signal for emerging climate technologies to decarbonize the heavy-emitting sectors, has grown 171 percent from 35 founding members to 95 members since launch at COP26.  By 2030, today’s 120 purchase commitments from members will represent an annual demand of $15 Billion for emerging climate technologies and 29 million tonnes (Mt) CO2e in annual emissions reductions.
  • Businesses are taking action to decarbonize the global energy system, ramping up clean energy whilst phasing out the use of fossil fuels. They are sending a clear market signal that will lead energy suppliers, capital providers and governments to move from fossil to clean. Co-ordinated by We Mean Business Coalition, today more than 200 businesses representing $US1.5 trillion in annual revenue have signed the Fossil to Clean advocacy letter urging global policymakers at COP28 to address the primary cause of climate change: burning fossil fuels.

Two year focus on final investment decisions 

However, success is not inevitable. New data from Mission Possible Partnership (MPP) reveals that while important progress is underway across the pipeline of green industrial projects, critical sectors are still way off track for the rapid acceleration required for net-zero by 2050.

Around 600 projects have now been announced across aluminium, concrete, chemicals, steel, aviation, and shipping, new MPP data tracking project announcements, final investment decisions (FIDs) and operational plants shows. Sixty three projects are in operation across sectors – however the vast majority of the rest of the pipeline has not yet reached FID.

We are behind the curve when it comes to the minimum number of projects that must be online by the end of the decade to hit net zero by 2050.

To put industry on track for 1.5C, 700 near-zero emission projects must be online by 2030. This means reaching FIDs on each sector by COP30, in two years’ time.

Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, said: “We are beginning to see the kinds of breakthroughs we need to keep 1.5C in reach. Breakthroughs not only in technology but in how civil society expertise, government policy, private investment and international assistance can come together to achieve a just transition for high emitting industries that drives down global emissions and drives forward sustainable development across the global south.”

UK Minister for Energy and Net Zero Minister Stuart said: “We must double down now on tackling emissions from heavy industry and transport if we are to deliver on the Paris Agreement. The Breakthrough Agenda focuses on particular sectors and creates a global framework to drive international collaboration where it is most needed – from stimulating green trade, encouraging investment, to strengthening financial assistance for developing countries.”

Faustine Delasalle, CEO of the Mission Possible Partnership, said: We have made significant progress from commitments to industry, but time is not on our side. Whereas the first few flagship projects are moving ahead in each sector, the next projects struggle. We need to accelerate collective efforts to strengthen the investment case for a critical mass of commercial scale deep decarbonisation projects or we will lose the war on climate breakdown.”

María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition: “For far too long burning of fossil fuels has been a trumpeting elephant in the negotiating rooms of major global summits. If governments are serious about giving our children a stable planet where people and economies work and thrive, we need to be very serious about managing the phase in of clean solutions – tripling of renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030 – and the phase out of fossil fuels by the 2040s.”


About the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28 – Mahmoud Mohieldin and Razan Al Mubarak – drive real world momentum into the UN Climate Change negotiations. They do this by mobilizing climate action amongst non-State actors (companies, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions) to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, in close collaboration with the UNFCCC, the Marrakech Partnership and the COP Presidencies.

About Breakthrough Agenda

Launched at COP26, the Breakthrough Agenda is an internationally-recognised and annual COP-centred process, backed by 56 countries and 100+ international initiatives, that enhances global cooperation in seven key sectors collectively responsible for over 60 percent of global emissions: power, road transport, steel, hydrogen, agriculture, buildings, and cement.

About MPP

The Mission Possible Partnership (MPP) is a movement of climate leaders in business and civil society working to decarbonise seven hard-to-abate industrial and mobility sectors: aluminium, aviation, cement and concrete, chemicals, shipping, steel and trucking. MPP’s 2030 Milestones are real-economy targets for action in this decade to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, developed from sector transition strategies endorsed by more than 200 companies. MPP was founded to foster radical collaboration between stakeholders in industry, finance, and policy by four founding partners: the Energy Transitions Commission, RMI, the We Mean Business Coalition and the World Economic Forum.