Princeton researchers at forefront of national plans for technological and social transition to net-zero emissions

Written by
Morgan Kelly
Morgan Kelly, High Meadows Environmental Institute
Feb. 3, 2021

Scientists and research based at Princeton University played a critical role in a new national report that investigates the technology, policy and societal dimensions of accelerating decarbonization in the United States.

On Feb. 2, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published the report, “Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System,” which provides a technical blueprint and policy manual for decarbonizing the American economy.

The report was conducted by a nationwide committee of experts chaired by Stephen Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and including Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

In a public briefing, Pacala — who directs the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) based in Princeton’s High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) — said that the National Academies’ report is unique for its focus on creating a “fair and equitable path to net-zero by 2050.”

The National Academies’ report again put the work of Princeton researchers at the forefront of a national conversation on converting the American energy sector to net-zero emissions by midcentury.

The report extensively quotes the landmark Princeton study, “Net-Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure and Impacts,” which has been a focus of CMI for nearly two years and is ongoing.

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