Deep decarbonisation: a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Published on Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Energy and climate change are the focus of an international research project entitled DDPP, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, a global initiative involving numerous research teams in the search for practical, effective solutions leading to significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Teams of researchers specializing in energy are working all over the world to propose the most appropriate solutions for their home countries. Each country’s annual report lists a series of possible actions to be taken to limit global warming to two degrees or less.

The project – which began in 2013 – is promoted by two organizations: the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

The IDDRI is a non-profit institute based in Paris which works on analysis of global ecological and energy issues: from climate change to protection of biodiversity, from urbanization to food and nutrition security. The other association supporting the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the SDSN, was set up by United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to create a network which – bringing together the scientific and technical expertise of universities, the private sector and civil society – could make a contribution to sustainable development by supporting decision-making processes on multiple levels (local, national and global).

The Decarbonization Project can count on scientific research teams working under the most important institutes from sixteen countries which alone account for 74% of the world’s greenhouse gases. The participating European countries are France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom; in the rest of the world, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United States are involved in the project.

What is unusual about the project is its mission of concreteness: the research teams work by developing models of change custom calibrated for each country and its particular structural features, taking into consideration aspects such as the presence of electric power plants, the quantity of private and commercial motor vehicles, and the various areas of intervention.

Decarbonization policies are enthusiastically embraced by producers of energy, who are also investing in their development. One example is the Enel group, which has declared its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This commitment begins with a promise – the promise not to build any more coal-fired power plants – and continues with the established goal of investing more than 7 billion euros in development of energy generation from ‘green’ sources over the next four years. “Climate change is a reality we must address,” declares Managing Director Francesco Starace. “Enel will continue to use the most advanced technologies to speed up the decarbonization process over the coming years, improving infrastructure and promoting efficiency, as being sustainable today means being competitive tomorrow”.

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