Driving Demand for Industrial Decarbonization.

Driving Demand for Industrial Decarbonization

By Tom Hassenboehler

February 26, 2020

After several months of discussions, brainstorming, research, and engagement with a wide variety of climate stakeholders, I am excited to announce the upcoming release of our third white paper, The Role of Digitalization in Driving Demand for Industrial Decarbonization.

When we started EC-MAP nearly two years ago, we sought to create a fresh forum to cultivate curiosity and enthusiasm about the implications of the digital economy on the energy sector. We wanted to advance a different type of dialogue that could bring together diverse stakeholders from across industry spheres and the political spectrum to discuss market barriers to clean energy innovations that can empower the consumer and facilitate more transparency and choice.

What we have learned is that indeed digital technologies, if harnessed correctly, hold great promise for facilitating new, more transparent markets and building trust among diverse political stakeholders. However, so much more needs to be done.

A big part of the challenge is communication. There is an enormous delta of understanding between the companies engaged in building new information and communications technologies and traditional energy and environmental stakeholders (as well as the policymakers who govern each). Tech and energy essentially speak different languages, one the slow, bureaucratic intricacies of infrastructure; the other a fast-evolving, open world of code. The collaboration across these worlds haven’t aligned—yet.

Connecting the dots on these issues has certainly been one of the most challenging endeavors of my career, and we have only begun to scratch the surface.

We wanted to focus the paper’s central discussion on the promise of “Digital MRV,” which can enable companies to quantify emissions and environmental attributes in ways that are more granular, more accurate, and more actionable.

To do so, we had to question existing assumptions about the status quo across the regulatory environment, as well as within energy, technology and financial markets. We also had to guard against the hype and hyperbole that often accompanies fast-moving digital innovations.

What we agreed on are principles that we hope all stakeholders can appreciate and build upon as we seek to further unpack the promise of digitalization. These principles—transparency, accuracy, replicability, predictability, and interoperability—hold great promise to upend the energy norms of today and bring about more market-driven transparency and accountability in a climate constrained world. We also began the difficult work of fleshing out recommendations for future policy action, and we hope others will join in to help refine them.

Combined with our first two papers that address the digitalization of the power and transportation sectors, this new effort on driving demand for industrial decarbonization forms an original set of ambitious ideas that we plan to build into specific action.

The paper will be available here, and we encourage you to reach out if you would like to get involved in our efforts. It is our hope that this paper challenges the status quo and brings about a discussion on new ways to approach climate policy and accelerate emissions reduction.

Tom Hassenboehler is the Founder and Executive Director of EC-MAP.