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23 Governments announce new Missions to accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies that can decarbonize sectors responsible for 50% of global emissions



22 Governments and the European Commission, collaborating through Mission Innovation, today announced four ground-breaking ‘Missions’ to catalyse investment and action to make the clean energy technologies which will decarbonise the most challenging sectors.

The Missions, announced by Ministers from the U.S., India, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Austria, the Netherlands and European Commission, will accelerate technologies to facilitate urban transitions, eliminate emissions from industry, enable carbon dioxide removal, and produce renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. Combined with three Missions first announced in June 2021, on power systems, hydrogen, and shipping, they have the potential to unlock affordable decarbonisation pathways for sectors responsible for 52% of current global emissions.

Fully consistent with the Breakthrough Agenda, announced by world leaders on 2 November at COP26, Mission Innovation is a key platform for governments and the private sector to work together to develop and demonstrate clean technologies across multiple sectors. The aim is to use research, development and demonstration investments by government and the ingenuity of business and finance to make clean energy solutions more affordable, accessible, and attractive than their alternatives by 2030. Mission Innovation members alone are projected to invest at least $250 billion this decade in clean energy innovation.

John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said: “Mission Innovation is accelerating innovation across challenging sectors and technologies to enable a net-zero transition by mid-century. To raise climate ambition and drive the clean energy transition, we need to make major investments to develop, demonstrate, and scale up innovative technologies to enable a swift and affordable net-zero transition.”

Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “To tackle the climate crisis and reap the benefits of climate action, every country, every company, and every person needs to contribute. Mission Innovation mobilises governments to operate with a clear, collective voice, and helps the public sector to work together dynamically with the private sector to develop and scale up clean energy solutions. With the European Green Deal, the European Commission is demonstrating how to chart a clear course towards net zero emissions. Together with sharp emissions reductions, innovation gives us a path towards the Paris Agreement. We can make clean technologies more accessible for all, and provide a platform for all countries to reach net zero.”

The IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 report shows that almost half the carbon dioxide reductions required by 2050
will come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phasei. Reaching tipping points which make these technologies affordable and accessible for all will require enormous public and private sector collaboration.

The potential rewards for doing so are monumental. According to the Global Innovation Needs Assessment, supported by the UK Government and ClimateWorks Foundation, with analysis by Vivid Economics, accelerated energy and land use innovation efforts by governments could reduce the costs of decarbonising the energy system by 28%, saving USD$2.7 trillion per year by 2050. Energy innovations alone contribute to over 85% of these savings and could also unlock low carbon value chains worth USD$1.5 trillion in gross value added, a similar scale to today’s oil and gas production industry, and 16 million jobs by 2050ii.

Mission Innovation brings together governments from every continent, international organisations, and private sector investors such as Breakthrough Energy, the Bill Gates-led innovation investment programme, to spearhead the global investment and collaboration needed to achieve these tipping points worldwide.

On 3 November, Breakthrough Energy and Mission Innovation announced an expanded partnership to drive investment that brings technologies to market. This builds on the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst partnerships announced with the European Commissioniii, the UKiv and the USv

Bill Gates, Founder of Breakthrough Energy, said: “The only way the world can reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is if clean energy is made affordable and accessible for everyone – especially those in middle- and low-income countries. Expanding Breakthrough Energy’s long-standing partnership with Mission Innovation will help move that vision closer to reality by increasing our focus areas and funding for the research, development, and demonstration of new innovations and climate solutions.”

Espen Mehlum, Head of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure Program, Benchmarking and Regional Action, World Economic Forum, said: “Without a radical acceleration of innovation and in bringing new clean energy technologies to market, net zero and climate goals will be beyond our reach. As a global collaboration involving leading nations and other stakeholders – Mission Innovation is a central force in fast-tracking and globalizing clean energy innovation.”

Mission Innovation member governments have already increased clean energy innovation investments by USD$5.8 billion annually, since 2015. These national investments have supported the research, development, or demonstration of nearly 1,500 innovations, with the potential to avoid more than 21 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030, if fully deployedvi.

Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Energy and Mines, Chile, said: “We must make clean energy accessible and affordable this decade if we are to avoid a climate disaster. Through the ground-breaking collaboration and innovation which is driven by Mission Innovation members around the world, we have the power to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and secure a greener future for the next generation.”

New Missions will tackle some of the hardest to abate sectors in the world

The Missions announced at COP26 bring together governments and the private sector to catalyse investment and innovation in technologies to decarbonise the hardest to abate sectors:

Urban Transitions Mission – Cities account for nearly three-quarters of global energy consumption and 70% of total emissions. By 2030, the Urban Transitions Mission will deliver at least 50 large-scale, integrated demonstration projects in urban environments around the world to provide a pathway for all cities to adopt net-zero carbon solutions. The results could help more than 10,000 additional cities reduce their own emissions. The Mission is led by the European Commission, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, and Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe.

Net-Zero Industries Mission – Heavy industries like steel, cement, and chemicals, require extremely high temperatures and use massive amounts of energy. These three sectors are responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. These sectors also encounter high investment costs for process equipment with long payback periods and a lifetime of more than 20 years. Unlocking emissions reductions at the end of their next refurbishment cycles could prevent nearly 60Gt CO2 and help put industrial sectors onto a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050. This Mission will be co-led by Austria and Australia, with further information published in 2022.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Mission – co-led by the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Canada – will advance carbon dioxide removal technologies to enable a net reduction of 100 million metric tons of CO2 per year globally by 2030. CDR technologies can complement ongoing emissions reduction and mitigation strategies – decreasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 that remain despite those efforts. This Mission will catalyze a global CDR industry by advancing RD&D and facilitating pilot-scale tests and deployment.

Integrated Biorefineries Mission – The transport and chemicals sectors are responsible for nearly one third of global emissions. Replacing fossil fuel-based fuels, chemicals and materials with bio-based alternatives could reduce these emissions, providing a renewable alternative for hard-to-abate sectors and support rural jobs. This Mission will be led by India and the Netherlands, and further detail will be announced in 2022.


Media Contacts:
Caroline Dobbin, Greenhouse +44 7971 255 843
Abbie Anderson, Greenhouse +44 7944 157 798

Notes to editors
Further Ministerial and Government quotes:

Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Advisor, said: “Reaching global net zero by mid-century requires intense international collaboration on research and innovation to develop and deliver solutions across all sectors of the global economy. Mission Innovation helps to do that by providing an important platform for public and private sector actors around the world to work together on targeted missions to reach key tipping points in critical sectors within the next decade.”

Jennifer Granholm, US Secretary of Energy, said: “Mission Innovation is all about collaborating across borders and working together to innovate so we can tackle the climate crisis faster. These four new missions will turbo-charge key climate solutions and help grow clean energy worldwide, bringing with it unprecedented economic opportunities.”

Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, said: “One key in tackling the climate crisis is the transformation of industry. As a nation with a strong industrial base and with long-standing experience in climate-friendly innovation funding, we take responsibility, and we intend to make a significant contribution. To achieve sustainable solutions, we need a cooperation between the public and the private sector.”

Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy for the Netherlands, said: “We are proud to be able to co-lead the soon to be launched Integrated Biorefineries Mission. Countries, knowledge institutes, industry, all are welcome to join this mission and help us set up and promote RD&D, realize pilot-scale demonstrations and boost public-private partnerships. Together we can achieve more.”

Drew Leyburne, Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Technology, NRCan, said: “I am proud of the work being done by Mission Innovation to accelerate clean energy solutions through action-oriented cooperation. Canada’s co-leadership of MI’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Mission will leverage a global public-private alliance, and help to meet our collective energy and climate goals. This is energy RD&D work that can make a real impact this decade, while echoing and amplifying across the decades that follow.”

Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology, said: “There is no need to compromise emissions reduction and economic growth – we can have both. In pursuit of this ambition, Mission Innovation is the catalyst that will accelerate the adoption of low emissions technologies for our electrical, transport and industrial sectors, for the benefit of humankind.”

Additional Quotes:
Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26, said: “Setting exponential goals – shared by the public and the private sector – is one of the key ways to drive systemic transformation. The 2030 Breakthroughs have already started to accelerate progress in the private sector, and we welcome public sector commitments through Mission Innovation to do the same.”

Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, said: “COP26 is an opportunity for governments to provide the “unmistakeable signal” that the energy sector needs to accelerate the transition to clean energy worldwide and to keep a 1.5 °C path within reach. Innovation will play a critical role in this transition as around half of the emissions savings in 2050 will need to come from technologies that are today at demonstration or prototype stage. We welcome Mission Innovation’s quest to speed up the development of key energy technologies this decade in close collaboration with its partners and to put the world on track to a net zero emission pathway.”

Francesco La Camera, Director-General IRENA, said: “Net Zero is a challenging goal. But through systemic innovation and closer collaboration on clean energy transition this COP26 can step up action and put the world on a climate-safe pathway. We have the know-how, we have the tools, we need to act.”

Sir David King, Initiator Apollo Programme, Former Special Representative for Climate Change, said: “Mission Innovation public RD&D funding is now more important than ever to de-risk the process of the move away from fossil fuels and to provide the means to remove excess GHGs already in the atmosphere; a manageable future for humanity depends on the success of these ventures.”

Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of RMI, said: “During this decisive decade for the climate crisis, it is essential that we continue deploying proven clean energy solutions at scale, and accelerate innovation. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is needed to support both, and Mission Innovation provides a global platform for this collaboration. We are encouraged to see the new second-wave Missions focused on sectors that are especially challenging such as carbon dioxide removal and industry.”

About Mission Innovation
Mission Innovation is a global initiative to catalyse action and investment in research, development and demonstration to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible to all this decade. This will accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals and pathways to net zero. Launched alongside the Paris Agreement in 2015, Mission Innovation brings together governments, public authorities, corporates, investors and academia to enable widely affordable clean energy globally and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Mission Innovation is the main intergovernmental platform addressing clean energy innovation through action-oriented cooperation. Its members represent over 90% of global public investments in clean energy innovation and have increased their annual investments by USD$5.8 billion since 2015. Mission Innovation members are committing to sustaining and, wherever possible, increasing their investment in clean energy innovation this decade.

The 23 members of Mission Innovation are: Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the USA, and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union).

iii Mobilising investments of up to $1bn:

iv Worth £400million:

v Worth $1.5bn:
vi See Net-Zero Compatible Innovations Initiative