COP28 Presidency, United Nations Climate Change, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Launch New Industrial Transition Accelerator for Heavy-Emitting Industries

Backed by $30M from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the COP28 Presidency, the Accelerator will turbocharge implementation across energy, heavy industry and transport sectors, finance, and public policy in the world’s largest decarbonisation effort to date

Dubai, U.A.E. (December 2, 2023) – Today, COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney launched the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA), to catalyse decarbonisation across heavy-emitting sectors, including energy, industry, and transportation, and accelerate the delivery of Paris-aligned targets. The ITA Secretariat, which will be hosted by the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), brings global industry leaders together with policymakers, finance, and technical experts to unlock investment and rapidly scale implementation and delivery of projects needed to cut emissions, consistent with credible 2030 1.5°C pathway targets as determined by the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

The announcement took place at the COP28 World Climate Action Summit where the ITA co-chairs were joined by heads of state, CEOs, and climate leaders across civil society. The ITA is one component of the Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA), a series of landmark initiatives designed to speed up the energy transition and drastically reduce global emissions. 

COP28 President Dr. Al Jaber said, “Today we welcome a historic new era of energy action. We have presented solutions to drive a full scale and full speed transition of the global energy system, and I welcome all efforts and collaboration that will drive deep emissions cuts and improved efficiencies. Today’s historic announcement, across the entire energy ecosystem is something to be welcomed and celebrated, but we must recognise this is a first step towards a transformation that we all require.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “Reducing emissions from heavy emitting sectors like industry and transportation is one of the biggest obstacles we face in tackling climate change. This new partnership will bring together industry leaders, financial institutions, policymakers, and technical experts. Together, the coalition will work to help companies cut carbon emissions and develop public policies that incentivize those cuts – and to do so in ways that will help industries continue to grow and raise living standards around the world.”

Mark Carney, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and GFANZ Co-Chair, said, “The rapid decarbonization of heavy-emitting industries is essential if we are to remain within our global carbon budget. These industries are currently in transition traps. They know what they need to do but struggle to get the investment they need to meaningfully cut emissions. The Industrial Transition Accelerator will go where the emissions are and drive decarbonisation in heavy-emitting industries by bringing new technologies to maturity, dismantling regulatory barriers and boosting the demand for sustainable products.”

Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said, “The ITA represents a strategic convergence of policy, finance, technology, and collaborative efforts, to make significant strides in various sectors including heavy industry, energy, and transport to keep 1.5°C within reach. From the UNFCCC perspective, a key aspect of ITA is the policy connection. This initiative can play a crucial role by annually feeding back the progress and challenges faced across industries, to the COP process.”

The ITA will focus on decarbonisation solutions across industry, transport and energy, focusing on sub-sectors that generate a third of global emissions, including steel, aluminium, cement, chemicals, shipping, aviation and parts of the energy supply chain. Without rapid action, carbon emissions from these sectors alone are likely to increase by more than 30% by 2050 – making it impossible for the world to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Given the interconnections between heavy-emitting sectors, slow progress in one sector delays action in another.

Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, said, “Accelerating the clean energy transition in sectors where emissions are hard to reduce, such as heavy industry and long-distance transport, requires collaboration among many stakeholders. Stepping up efforts by businesses and financial institutions is particularly important at this critical time to ensure that projects currently underway reach final investment decisions as soon as possible. I welcome the objective and efforts of the Industrial Transition Accelerator to catalyse collaboration in this regard.”

Francesco La Camera, Director-General at IRENA, said, “Keeping the 1.5°C target alive requires all hands on deck. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook calls for radical action to overcome the deeply entrenched barriers across grid and physical infrastructure, legal and policies, institutional capacity and skilled workforce stemming from the systems and structures created for the fossil-fuel era. Hard-to-decarbonise industry sectors require a range of solutions to become aligned with the 1.5°C target. Through our global membership, we at IRENA will contribute to the ITA goals by leveraging international collaboration in technology transfer and investments prioritizing the industrial decarbonisation in developing countries.”

Faustine Delasalle, Chief Executive Officer of the Mission Possible Partnership and Executive Director of the ITA Secretariat said, “We have clarity on what we need to do and where we need to be by 2030 to decarbonise the heavy emitting sectors in line with the Paris Agreement. But time is not on our side, and the pipeline of necessary near-zero projects is falling short because industry can’t do it alone. The ITA gives us the breadth and scale to create a flywheel of collaboration that can create the exponential change that we need. I am thrilled to see the COP28 Presidency and UN prioritising this challenge and delighted that MPP is hosting the secretariat.”

Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, said, “The work of the Mission Possible Partnership has shown clearly how to decarbonise all the supposedly “hard” sectors of the economy – from steel, cement and chemicals to shipping and aviation.  We know the technologies and we know that net zero by 2050 is possible. But we must now turbocharge the pace of progress, with public policies and private financial support to drive the investment needed. The Industrial Transition Accelerator will play a key role in galvanising action across the world.” 

While progress has been made, a critical mass of projects must reach their Financial Investment Decision (FID) phase in the next two years and be brought online by 2030 to keep alive the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. Analysis from MPP shows that delivering the global emissions reductions needed will require 300 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plants, 200 ships using zero-emissions fuel, 70 zero-emissions steel plants, 40 new low-carbon smelting and refinery plants and over 40 commercial-scale carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) plants. 

Heavy-emitting sectors will require a wide range of technologies to be commercialised and deployed to cut emissions at scale, including green hydrogen, long duration energy storage, and CCUS. 

This unprecedented, collaborative effort will connect and elevate existing decarbonisation initiatives within the public and private sectors to unlock investment and deliver emissions reduction projects that help new technologies reach commercial scale. Importantly, the ITA will connect companies in developed and developing countries to relevant existing initiatives and engage international policymakers and international organisations to address cross-sectoral challenges. 

Recognising the importance of cooperation with national governments, the ITA will work closely with partner countries. After the launch, Governments will be invited to engage with its efforts through participation in multi stakeholder workstreams and high level dialogues. The ITA will also offer practical implementation support to partner countries, with the goal of ensuring that the Accelerator supports delivery of on-the-ground projects. 

Rodrigo Rollemberg, Secretary of Green Economy, Decarbonization and Bioindustry, Ministry of Development, Industry, Commerce and Services, Brazil, said, “The Secretariat for Green Economy, Decarbonization and Bioindustry, of the Ministry of Development of Industry, Commerce and Services of Brazil recognizes the importance of bringing together industry, finance and policymakers to help achieve the accelerated emissions reductions necessary to achieve our goals in 2030 and 2050. As the new president of the G20 next year and COP30 in two years’ time, we look forward to playing a leading role at ITA to help accelerate the implementation of projects both nationally and internationally.”

Mr. Izuru Kobayashi, Deputy Director-General for Technology and Environment, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan, said: “We welcome the launch of the Industrial Transition Accelerator to support the scaling of collective efforts to decarbonise high emitting industries. The Japanese Government recognises the importance of bringing policymakers, industry and finance together to solve these challenges and is willing to contribute to the ITA to achieve these goals together.”

Dr. Salisu Dahiru, Director General of the National Council on Climate Change, Nigeria, said, “The Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA) will help to accelerate the decarbonization of high emitting industries, globally. The Federal Government of Nigeria welcomes the launch of the ITA and looks forward to working with other policymakers, industry and finance to solve these collective challenges.”

Agnès Panier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition, France, said,  “Through participation and leadership in the Climate Club and the Breakthrough Agenda, the French Government recognises the importance of bringing together existing efforts to accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy emitting industries. We look forward to working with the ITA ecosystem of policymakers, industry and finance providers to scale decarbonisation projects in line with 1.5 degree pathways.”

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, said “The launch of the Industrial Transition Accelerator can help lower emissions from hard to abate sectors. Canada also faces similar challenges from heavy emitting industries and understands there are no quick and easy fixes, but together we can share solutions and help mobilize the financial capital we need to succeed and build a cleaner future for all.”

Under the leadership of the COP28 Presidency, UN Climate Change, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the ITA will help address the critical challenges to significantly expand the number of approved decarbonisation projects that secure investment approval by 2026. It will bring together producers, their customers and suppliers, financial institutions, and governments to improve project economics by significantly increasing demand for sustainable products, ensuring the right policy settings are in place, and supporting the development of new financial instruments needed by heavy-emitting sectors to fund their transition.  

Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), said, “Delivering the emissions reductions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change requires an economy-wide effort. Our collaborative work to create solutions to decarbonize heavy-emitting sectors is crucial to this transition. GFANZ looks forward to supporting this important initiative, bringing private finance to the table to help boost investment where it is needed to foster development and accelerate the transition.”

Building on important groundwork already laid by businesses, financial institutions, and other leading net-zero initiatives, the ITA will focus on addressing the critical challenges that are holding up existing projects from reaching their FID in the next 2-3 years. These focus areas may include: 

  • Decarbonisation solutions: Reaching economies of scale in energy technologies – such as green hydrogen, CCUS, sustainable fuels, and long-duration energy storage.  
  • Green demand: Mobilising governments, financial institutions, and companies to boost demand for sustainable products, such as through the First Movers Coalition, and facilitate investment in green industrial projects.
  • Policy environment: Identifying, tracking, and promoting policy levers proven to have successfully accelerated decarbonisation efforts.
  • Financing solutions: Creating financing solutions, such as the use of concessional finance, to help bridge investment today with demand for green products in the years ahead. 
  • Sector-tipping points: Elevating and accelerating progress of existing sector-specific projects that nudge us over tipping points to mass deployment of decarbonisation solutions in each sector.

The ITA’s progress will be measured by emissions reductions achieved across the sectors of focus, relative to the credible net-zero pathways of the IEA and MPP, and how it supports countries in achieving and raising their NDCs towards 2030 milestones.

The ITA Secretariat calculates that heavy-emitting sub-sectors, including steel, aluminium, cement, chemicals, shipping, aviation and parts of the energy supply chain could plausibly cut emissions by 5.7GT (over a third of their emissions) by 2030 to get on a 1.5C pathway. The ITA will support projects that contribute to that transition.

Peter Bakker, President and CEO World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), said, “I am thrilled that WBCSD will be a key partner in the Industrial Transition Accelerator announced today, an essential catalyst to unlock investments and get green industrialization solutions to scale. WBCSD’s members, together with our unique global network alliance of more than 60 independent business-led organisations worldwide, are working in every sector throughout the value chain and will play a major role by building green industrial plants, buying green products and developing the skilled workforce needed for a just transition.”

Dr. Ilham Kadri, Chair of WBCSD, added, “In our world, which is running full speed well beyond 2°C, the ITA creates the scale-up conditions and the momentum for key industries to change the trajectory now and to keep 1.5°C as a viable target. Bringing together global industry leaders with policymakers, finance, and technical experts towards this goal is now an urgent necessity.”

Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said, “Effectively addressing industry decarbonization is a systemic issue and as such requires systemic thinking and action. It is encouraging to see many organizations stepping up their efforts individually and they should continue to do so. However, accelerating the global pace of industrial emissions reductions requires coordinated collective action across all stakeholder groups. These issues are too complex, interrelated and quickly evolving. The World Economic Forum stands ready to work with the Industrial Transition Accelerator for scale and impact.”

UK Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart, as a co-lead of the Breakthrough Agenda, said, “Industrial sectors are some of the world’s biggest polluters, so speeding up the green transition will require a concerted and focused effort. That’s why the UK is committed to working through the Breakthrough Agenda, in partnership with other governments and businesses, to focus on particular sectors and deliver transformational results at COP28 and beyond. We see real potential for the Industrial Transition Accelerator to unlock investment in a wave of first mover green industrial projects around the world. By decarbonising heavy industries, we are safeguarding not just the environment but those industrial jobs which are at risk from the rising cost of carbon.”

The ITA will be driven by leading companies and sector initiatives, working in partnership with leaders from the real economy, financial sector, technical experts, and the policymaking community. To demonstrate this support, companies participating in the ITA’s work agree to:

  • Set out a Paris-aligned net-zero target
  • Develop a net-zero transition plan to achieve this target, ideally within two years, utilising a credible third-party framework and including a Paris-aligned 2030 interim target
  • Demonstrate acceleration of decarbonisation efforts, through capital expenditure and technology deployment plans
  • Disclose on emissions and progress against targets, ideally within two years of joining, through key disclosure initiatives such as partners of Net Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU) integrated with the UNFCCC Global Climate Action Portal (GCAP)

Hosted by MPP, the ITA Secretariat will actively facilitate collaboration, engagement, and implementation with partners in policy, finance, infrastructure, and technology. Founding partners include the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Economic Forum (WEF). MPP will lead the Secretariat and technical work alongside key industry-specific initiatives.  

The ITA builds on the ambitious work being done by MPP, which was founded in 2019 to trigger a net-zero transformation of seven industrial sectors, leveraging the convening power, talent, and expertise of world-leading climate action organisations. At COP26 in Glasgow, MPP and its partners put the decarbonisation of heavy-emitting sectors firmly on the climate action agenda. They then published industry-backed Sector Transitions Strategies for reduction pathways in the heaviest emitting sectors. At COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, MPP worked on turning pledges into action, galvanising stakeholders on real economy milestones for 2030. Now, at COP28, the ITA will turbocharge this progress to unlock the investment needed in energy, industry, and heavy transportation to implement decarbonisation solutions at scale to meet these ambitious 2030 objectives. 

“At a critical moment for the future of our planet, the IMO welcomes the timely announcement of the Industrial Transition Accelerator, which aligns closely with the net zero future of global shipping as defined in IMO’s 2023 Greenhouse Gas Strategy,” said Arsenio Dominguez, incoming Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization. “The maritime industry faces a confluence of challenges, opportunities, and changes ahead – the ITA can help bridge the gap by enhancing cross-sectoral cooperation and collaboration across the UN-family.”

Thomas Guillot, Chief Executive of the Global Cement and Concrete Association, said, “The cement and concrete industry provides essential material for the world, enabling resilient and sustainable infrastructure and housing for the needs of people and the planet. Decarbonising global industries such as ours will take the collective effort of industry and businesses, finance and policymakers, scientists and civil society, all working together. That is why the Industrial Transition Accelerator is so important, to help set out the right pathway and collaboration to accelerate the shift to net zero. We have already seen the positive impact that collaboration at a national, regional and local level can have by translating the global net zero commitment our industry has made into meaningful action on the ground. We welcome the ITA’s resolve to work with a number of important sectors and stand ready to play a key role.”

Åsa Ekdahl, Head of Environment and Climate Change at the World Steel Association, said, “The steel industry is committed to continuing to reduce the carbon emissions from its production processes and the use of its products. There is no single solution to do this, which is why industry cooperation with other sectors like energy and transportation, as well as partnerships with the financial community, are crucial for the steel industry. We need to see faster development of enabling technologies, renewable energy and green hydrogen not only to ensure our own operations are aligned with the aims of the Paris Agreement, but because steel is and will be a critical material for these other sectors to achieve their own climate ambitions. Our association welcomes the launch of the ITA and looks forward to working with its wide range of partners.”

Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP Sustainability and Chief Economist, said, “Aviation’s decarbonization will require the wholehearted and united efforts of the entire value chain and governments as we all focus on net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Collaboration between stakeholders and even industry sectors is critical as the energy transition is a wholly systemic challenge that no single industry can solve on its own. We are looking forward to working with all our partners within the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA) to add momentum to the aviation industry’s transition to net zero carbon emissions.”

Johannah Christensen, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Maritime Forum, said, “The Global Maritime Forum is honoured to join the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA). We look forward to supporting this important initiative. The Global Maritime Forum brings its experience and dedicated network of maritime leaders committed to decarbonising one of the hardest to abate sectors, crucial for meeting the Paris Agreement goals. Together, we can accelerate progress, overcome barriers, and achieve a sustainable and decarbonised future for all.”

Jon Creyts, Chief Executive Officer of RMI, said, “We are seeing exponential change to clean energy in certain sectors of the economy, but to succeed in delivering global prosperity while preventing catastrophic warming, we need similar momentum in the heavy industries. A growing constellation of projects delivering green steel, hydrogen powered by renewable energy and sustainable aviation fuel is reaching commercial operation across the globe. The ITA unites a growing group of policy, industry, and finance partnerships required to make these early projects business as usual. As a co-founder of Mission Possible Partnership and a leader in transition finance, RMI is proud to bring our global industrial and policy expertise to this ambitious effort.”

Ciyong Zou, Deputy to the Director General and the Managing Director of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said, “Addressing the financing needs of developing and emerging economies in the decarbonization of heavy emitting industry must be at the heart of the climate and international cooperation agenda.  UNIDO welcomes the launch of the ITA and sees it as an opportunity to accelerate its work on the ground in many countries to ensure the adoption of policies that stimulate the adoption of low carbon technologies in manufacturing steel and cement and demand for low carbon products in lead markets.”