Berkeley Lab joins global partnership to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

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Debbie Yuen/Staff
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced in a press release Thursday that it will play a prominent role in the Net Zero World Action Center, an international collaborative effort to develop equitable sources of clean energy.

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The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or LBNL, announced it will play a prominent role in the Net Zero World Action Center, or NZW Action Center, in a press release Thursday.

The NZW Action Center is a collaborative effort between government agencies, philanthropic organizations and other national laboratories to support the transition to net-zero energy systems across sectors, according to the press release.

A press release from the Department of Energy, or DOE, added that the action center seeks to meet the goals of the Net Zero World Initiative, a global partnership announced in 2021 that includes countries ranging from the United States to Egypt.

Reshma Singh, a program director at the LBNL, will serve as the initiative’s country coordinator for India once the country signs on as a partner, the LBNL press release added.

“India is a critical country for the net zero transition given its carbon trajectory, economic and demographic heft, and regional dominance,” Singh said in an email. “At COP26, India pledged to become a ‘net zero’ carbon emitter by 2070. My goal is to help accelerate this vision.”

The partnering countries plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions worldwide by developing roadmaps for clean energy, offering support for implementation of projects that promote equity and fostering international cooperation, according to the DOE press release.

Nan Zhou, a senior scientist at LBNL and technical program manager at the NZW Action Center, emphasized that the current level of greenhouse gas emissions has increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters.

“All countries and all sectors need to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of the century,” Zhou said in an email. “It is critical for the developed countries to assist developing countries to embark on the carbon neutral pathways both technologically and financially.”

Zhou described the program as a “virtual lab” that allows scientists and managers from different labs to come together to combat climate change.

She noted the LBNL will lead the team in the development and delivery of programs for all energy sectors in the partnering countries while emphasizing equity and inclusion.

“The (NZW Action Center) is a new pioneering model that has never been done before,” Zhou said in her email. “Climate change is one of the most challenging problems that our humankind faces today and it requires collaboration and team science.”

The DOE will fund the partnership with other government and philanthropic organizations, according to the LBNL press release.

Carolyn Szum, a program manager at the LBNL, said she will be working to mobilize $10 billion in clean energy finance by 2024 while in the role of deputy for investment services.

“I have worked in climate finance for nearly two decades,” Szum said in an email. “I was honored to share my expertise and networks to mobilize billions of dollars in investment in clean energy infrastructure in emerging markets.”

Szum described the initiative as an “unprecedented” collaboration in the movement toward global decarbonization.

Contact Zachary Khouri at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @zachakhouri.