At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Dr. Jennifer Wilcox underscored the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) support for the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis and advancing energy and climate justice in the United States.
Throughout the event, Dr. Wilcox spoke in a number of keynote speeches and panels on DOE’s plans to support the United States in achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm also made history when she announced the launch of Carbon Negative Shot—the federal government’s first major effort in carbon dioxide removal (CDR).
Catch up on FECM’s COP26 highlights below.
Secretary Granholm Announces New Energy Earthshot on CDR
In response to President Biden's charge to speed the development of critical technologies to combat climate change, Secretary Granholm launched two DOE efforts:
- Carbon Negative Shot, DOE's third Energy Earthshot, calls for progress in CDR that will remove and durably store carbon dioxide (CO2) for less than $100/net metric ton of CO2-equivalent across the full suite of approaches.
- CDR Mission, under Mission Innovation (MI), will become the world's first public-private partnership to accelerate innovation in CDR.
Secretary Granholm's announcement was followed by remarks from Dr. Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency Executive Director. The session then moved into two discussions: a panel on Carbon Negative Shot, moderated by Dr. Akshat Rathi of Bloomberg News, with Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund and Dr. Lucas Joppa, the Chief Environmental Officer for Microsoft, along with a fireside chat on the MI CDR Mission, moderated by Dr. Wilcox.
World Economic Forum Launches Transitioning Industrial Clusters toward Net-Zero Initiative
Dr. Wilcox participated in the World Economic Forum's (WEF's) launch event, hosted in partnership with Accenture, for its new Transitioning Industrial Clusters toward Net-Zero Initiative. This initiative aims to accelerate the transition of industrial clusters around the world toward net-zero while delivering on jobs, better air quality, area revitalization and economic improvement.
Dr. Wilcox fielded questions about the importance of an equitable, inclusive and just transition to net-zero carbon emissions and how the WEF’s initiative centered on industrial clusters fits into this vision.
Research Council of Norway Hosts CDR Advancement Discussion
Dr. Wilcox addressed the Research Council of Norway and emphasized the critical importance of advancing CDR technologies to combat the climate crisis. She explained that as we pursue the development and deployment of CDR in the United States, we must be thoughtful about prioritizing investments that make meaningful progress on achieving net-zero emissions while supporting place-based solutions. Dr. Wilcox noted that incorporating a climate justice framework is necessary to ensuring an equitable industry that will benefit vulnerable climate populations, both locally and globally.
“We’re making strides in the United States and in other countries—but we have a lot of work ahead of us to develop and deploy CDR,” said Dr. Wilcox in her prepared remarks. “My message to you today is that the United States and the Department of Energy welcome the opportunity to work with our co-leads on the CDR Mission—and with Norway and other partners around the world—to meet that challenge.”
International Energy Agency Leads Carbon Capture and Storage Event
The International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Programme led a discussion about advancing carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the CCS Centres of Excellence that is being established.
Dr. Wilcox spoke at the event and noted that for the past 20+ years, DOE has been focused on carbon capture technology investments in the power sector. She explained that as the nation moves forward, we will expand our efforts on capturing carbon emissions from committed infrastructure (e.g., natural gas-fired power plants and industrial sectors, including hydrogen, cement and steel production) expected to persist through mid-century.
“We have a unique opportunity—and a compelling responsibility—to advance these technology approaches to achieve decarbonization and help tackle the climate crisis,” said Dr. Wilcox in her prepared remarks. “Getting there requires collaboration across government, industry and academia—and across international borders, especially with developing countries and others who need our assistance to decarbonize their industries. And establishing CCS Centres of Excellence is an exciting approach to help achieve that goal.”
COP26 Social Media Highlights
- Secretary of Energy Granholm announced Carbon Negative Shot, which aims to reduce the cost of durable CDR to less than $100/net metric ton. (Like and share this tweet!)
- The New York Times profiled DOE’s #CarbonNegativeShot initiative to show the importance of CDR. (Like and share this tweet!)
- Dr. Wilcox met with Dan Dorner, Head of the Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat team. (Like and share this tweet!)
- Dr. Wilcox toured the modular carbon capture technology, CycloneCC, with Carbon Clean. (Check out this tweet!)
- Announced at COP26, DOE will host the 2022 Joint International Clean Energy and Mission Innovation Ministerials in Pittsburgh, PA. (Like and share this tweet!)