For over ten years, SDSN researchers have developed novel research to provide jurisdictions with the pathways and tools they need to decarbonize their economies. These long-term decarbonization pathways are created at various scales across the world and the U.S. This includes globally through the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), in which research teams from 16 countries came together to produce feasibility studies illustrating the technical capacity to significantly decarbonize their economies. This work ultimately changed the discourse around decarbonization and its use in the development of the Paris Agreement.

The DDPP has been followed by other renowned studies, including our U.S. and ASEAN decarbonization pathways work. To learn more about deep decarbonization pathways research, see our Frequently Asked Questions. For additional decarbonization pathways studies, see our Resources Section below.

SDSN USA Pathways Projects

Building on the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, SDSN USA researchers have developed long-term decarbonization pathways studies at various scales in the U.S. In 2020, SDSN contributed to the national US Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP) and two regional studies in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest. In 2022, SDSN contributed to the San Diego Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) Initiative, which downscaled national modeling results to the subnational regional jurisdiction of San Diego, California.

Legal Pathways to US Decarbonization

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States provides a “legal playbook” for deep decarbonization in the U.S., identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the U.S. to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity. It is based on the technical analysis in “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States” by Jim Williams and the U.S. team of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project. Visit the project website to access hundreds of legal pathways and resources to decarbonization, including the "Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States" book, which published under the leadership of Columbia University Law Professor, Michael Gerrard, and Widen University Law Professor, John C. Dernbach.

Roadmap to 2050

In 2019 ahead of COP25, the SDSN and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) published the Roadmap to 2050: A Manual for Nations to Decarbonize by Mid-Century, which aimed to support governments and decision makers in the adoption of medium-long-term strategies and plans for energy transition. The document was presented as an input paper at the Secretary-General's Climate Summit in New York (September 2019) and at COP25 hosted by Chile in Madrid (December 2019). The 2021 report, Roadmap to 2050: The Land-Water-Energy Nexus of Biofuels, follows a workshop to convene leading experts in biofuels and land use to build collaborative understanding and consensus around the scalability of biofuels in the 2050 decarbonization landscape.

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Elena Crete

  • Head of Climate and Energy
  • SDSN Climate and Energy Program

Julie Topf

  • Program Associate
  • Science Panel for the Amazon and Climate and Energy Program

Daniel Bernstein

  • Special Assistant and Program Associate
  • Science Panel for the Amazon and Climate and Energy Program

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