The Breakthrough Agenda: a master plan to accelerate decarbonization of five major sectors
Governments representing over half of global GDP set out 12-month action plan to help make clean technologies cheaper and more accessible everywhere.
By Climate Champions | November 11, 2022
- Countries today launch a package of 25 new collaborative actions to be delivered by COP28 to speed up the decarbonisation under five key breakthroughs of power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture
- Historic support by three COP Presidencies for COP26, COP27 and COP28 drives forward implementation from Glasgow to Sharm El Sheik and into the United Arab Emirates-hosted COP and sends a signal of intent to the private sector
- Actions target sectors accounting for more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are also designed to reduce energy costs and enhance food security, with buildings and cement sectors to be added to the Breakthrough Agenda next year
Today, under the Breakthrough Agenda countries representing more than 50% of global GDP set out sector-specific ‘Priority Actions’ to decarbonise power, transport and steel, scale up low-emission hydrogen production and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28. These measures are designed to cut energy costs, rapidly reduce emissions and boost food security for billions of people worldwide.
The actions under each breakthrough will be delivered through coalitions of committed countries – from the G7, European Commission, India, Egypt, Morocco and others, supported by leading international organizations and initiatives, and spearheaded by a core group of leading governments. These efforts will be reinforced with private finance and leading industry initiatives and further countries are encouraged to join.
The Priority Actions include agreements to:
- Develop common definitions for low-emission and near-zero emission steel, hydrogen and sustainable batteries to help direct billions of pounds in investment, procurement and trade to ensure credibility and transparency
- Ramp up the deployment of essential infrastructure projects including at least 50 large scale net-zero emission industrial plants, at least 100 hydrogen valleys and a package of major cross-border power grid infrastructure projects
- Set a common target date to phase out polluting cars and vehicles, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Significant backing for the dates of 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets will be announced by countries, businesses and cities on Solutions Day
- Use billions of pounds of private and public procurement and infrastructure spend to stimulate global demand for green industrial goods
- Systematically strengthen financial and technological assistance to developing countries and emerging markets to support their transitions backed up by a range of new financial measures, including the world’s first major dedicated industry transition programme under the Climate Investment Funds
- Drive investment in agriculture research, development & demonstration (RD&D) to generate solutions to address the challenges of food insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation
Against the backdrop of rising food prices, 13 countries have now endorsed the Agriculture Breakthrough led by the UK and Egypt, including recent new joiners Australia, Cambodia, Germany and Ireland, which aims to make climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture the most widely adopted option by 2030. While France and Morocco have signaled their intention to launch a new Buildings Breakthrough; Canada have signaled their intention to launch a new Cement Breakthrough in 2023 and Cambodia became the latest country to endorse the Breakthrough Agenda as a whole, bringing the total of countries endorsing the agenda to 47.
Today’s Breakthrough Agenda announcements build on the leader-level commitment at COP26 by 45 countries to work together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in each of the emissions-intensive sectors of the global economy, before the end of this decade.
“Since we launched the Breakthrough Agenda at COP26, the world has changed and we are facing a perilous geopolitical and economic situation. That only makes international collaboration more urgent,” said Alok Sharma, COP26 President. “That’s why I am pleased that countries representing over 50% of global GDP have now agreed to a set of priority actions for implementation. Now, it is vital for all to deliver and demonstrate real progress as we move forward. This is integral to achieving the 2030 goal of making clean technology affordable, available and accessible to all.”
Initiated by the UK COP Presidency in partnership with the Race to Zero and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions, this major international government-led programme will be overseen by Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial from COP27 through to COP28.
“The Breakthrough Agenda provides a practical platform for partnerships between countries and across industries that will be essential to rapidly scale commercially viable solutions for climate progress,” Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change for the UAE said. “The UAE is keen to continue its contribution to the Breakthrough Agenda, as a pioneer in renewable energy, first-mover on hydrogen, as well as a champion of sustainable, decarbonized agriculture. Our support as founding members of AIM for Climate, the recent 100 GW Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy (PACE) with the United States, and the 10 GW wind power agreement we signed with Egypt at COP27 are recent examples of that commitment. And as the host country of COP28, the Emirates Climate Conference, we are determined to bridge initiatives and outcomes from Glasgow and Sharm El Sheikh to the UAE.”
“The Breakthrough Agenda is galvanizing action in this decisive decade across the world’s most important economic sectors to decarbonize. Government cooperation, in collaboration with the private sector through the First Movers Coalition, can scale critical technologies and create new markets. I congratulate our close partners the United Kingdom on the continued success of the Breakthrough Agenda,” said United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
These priority actions are being supported and accelerated by a raft of developments across industry and government-led initiatives, with accompanying key announcements seen today and throughout COP27. These include:
- The First Movers Coalition, which launched at COP26 to help drive industrial decarbonisation, has expanded to 10 new corporate members including PepsiCo, General Motors, Rio Tinto and ETEX, to reach 65 in total with a combined market cap of about $8 trillion. Together they commit $12bn to commercialize zero-carbon technology to decarbonize the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors, responsible for 30% of global emissions.
- The First Movers Coalition also launched its cement and concrete sector, with newly announced companies committing to purchase at least 10% near-zero carbon cement and concrete per year by 2030.
- A package of new financial announcements for industrial transitions: the launch of the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIFs) new Industry Transition Programme – the world’s first large scale dedicated finance programme for developing country industry transitions; a $410m green hydrogen investment in Egypt led by the EBRD; and World Bank plans to develop a $1.6bn green hydrogen global programme.
- This comes on top of recently confirmed plans to launch by COP28 the ‘CIFs Capital Market Mechanism’ – a new initiative instrument that modeling has shown will generate billions of dollars a year in extra finance into sector transitions over the next 10 years.
- The Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), an alliance of leading climate organizations, released 2030 Milestones for seven hard-to-abate industrial and transport sectors, following publication of transition strategies endorsed by more than 200 industrial companies.
- MPP will also provide advisory and technical support for accelerated decarbonisation projects in two industrial hubs in Houston and Los Angeles, United States, to scale first projects spanning multiple hard-to-abate industrial and transport sectors and inform the next wave of green industrial clusters.
- The Africa Net-Zero Concrete Group has launched and the first African Net-Zero Concrete National Roadmap has been set by Egypt.
- Meanwhile, a joint statement will be launched between the largest green hydrogen developers and shipping actors mutually committing to produce and use green hydrogen-derived fuels by 2030 and beyond.
These developments build on significant progress throughout the year, with investments in wind and solar projects expected to outpace oil and gas for the first time ever, while the pipeline of next generation low-emission facilities accelerated, with over 100 low-emission cement projects in planning and millions of tonnes of near-zero emission steel production plants now approaching financial investment decision. Over 50 countries are developing hydrogen strategies, collectively targeting 74GW of capacity, while more than $4bn has been allocated to agriculture innovation for climate, by the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate.
Other key developments seen throughout the year include:
- 23 national governments and the European Commission, collaborating under Mission Innovation, announced investment in 221 demonstration projects this year in clean energy innovation across key sectors including hydrogen and power.
- $94bn has been committed by governments – including 15 Clean Energy Ministerial members and 14 Mission Innovation members – towards demonstrating clean energy technologies by 2026 in response to US President Joe Biden’s $90bn Challenge.
Notes to Editors:
Figures accurate at the time of distribution, final total GDP and country numbers will be updated ahead of the embargo.
Alok Sharma, COP26 President: “Since we launched the Breakthrough Agenda at COP26, the world has changed and we are facing a perilous geopolitical and economic situation. That only makes international collaboration more urgent. That’s why I am pleased that countries representing over 50% of global GDP have now agreed to a set of priority actions for implementation. Now, it is vital for all to deliver and demonstrate real progress as we move forward. This is integral to achieving the 2030 goal of making clean technology affordable, available and accessible to all.”
Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change for the UAE: “The Breakthrough Agenda provides a practical platform for partnerships between countries and across industries that will be essential to rapidly scale commercially viable solutions for climate progress. The UAE is keen to continue its contribution to the Breakthrough Agenda, as a pioneer in renewable energy, first-mover on hydrogen, as well as a champion of sustainable, decarbonized agriculture. Our support as founding members of AIM for Climate, the recent 100 GW Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy (PACE) with the United States, and the 10 GW wind power agreement we signed with Egypt at COP27 are recent examples of that commitment. And as the host country of COP28, the Emirates Climate Conference, we are determined to bridge initiatives and outcomes from Glasgow and Sharm El Sheikh to the UAE.”
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt: “COP27 is an implementation COP. I am pleased to see countries come together today to shift from pledges to tangible action, by collaborating through the Priority Actions under the Breakthrough Agenda. This represents a concrete international plan to decarbonise high-emitting sectors by 2030 and help developing countries seize the opportunity of low-carbon and climate resilient growth and development.”
Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for the UK: “Radical collaboration is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The Breakthrough Agenda is the largest ever collaborative effort to drive down the cost of cutting emissions across power, transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture, in line with the 1.5°C trajectory. I am thrilled to see an increase in countries committed, and a shift towards implementation, today.”
United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry: “The Breakthrough Agenda is galvanizing action in this decisive decade across the world’s most important economic sectors to decarbonize. Government cooperation, in collaboration with the private sector through the First Movers Coalition, can scale critical technologies and create new markets. I congratulate our close partners the United Kingdom on the continued success of the Breakthrough Agenda.”
Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy for Australia: “Australia supports the Breakthrough Agenda, creating opportunities for collaboration, and shaping the actions needed for the global clean energy transition. The Australian Government is stepping up its contributions in the collective global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emission engagement by endorsing the Agriculture Breakthrough at COP27.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change for Canada:“Setting ambitious targets for climate action is important, and the Breakthrough Agenda is bringing countries together to align actions to accelerate clean technology development and keep 1.5 in reach. Since COP26, Canada has introduced an Emissions Reduction Plan that touches every sector of our economy – including improved pollution pricing and support to help industries develop and adopt clean technology. By charting comprehensive pathways to emissions reductions, Canada is putting the priority on action and implementation.”
Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency: “Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system. However, more still needs to be done to accelerate clean energy transitions quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The Breakthrough Agenda is a valuable example of international collaboration, which is vital for making energy transitions quicker, cheaper and fairer for everyone. COP27 is an opportunity to strengthen these efforts so they can start delivering for citizens.”
Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency: “A successful COP27 is essential to rewrite the way international cooperation works. I am delighted to see global partners joining the Breakthrough Agenda. It’s a clear sign that renewable energy has been recognised as a cost-effective multiplier solution to the turmoil in the energy sector we are facing today. With 81% of last year’s power additions, renewables are increasingly leaving fossil fuels behind, cutting power generation costs by at least USD 55 billion this year globally. But we must move faster, across all sectors. If we don’t take drastic and immediate action, we won’t be able to stay on the 1.5°C path and many countries’ important development progress will be at risk.”
Dr Eleanor Webster, Head of Secretariat, Mission Innovation: “The planet cannot afford for the global community to idle any longer. A critical measure of success at COP27 will be the ability of governments to unite for action and demonstrate tangible progress. This is already happening, but we must go further. Mission Innovation is working with the Breakthrough Agenda to overcome international barriers that will lead to tipping points in the cost and scale of clean technology – making it affordable, accessible and attractive for all.”
Dan Dorner, Head of Secretariat, Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM): “One year on from the launch of the Breakthrough Agenda, the urgent need for international collaboration is clearer than ever. Bringing together powerful coalitions of countries and experts from across clean energy sectors to collaborate and coordinate their efforts is at the heart of the CEM’s mission. We are pleased to work with the Breakthrough Agenda and COP27 – the implementation COP – is the right place to formally strengthen these efforts. We must ensure that our collective efforts add up to a massive acceleration in clean energy adoption, benefitting countries and citizens around the world.
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Mission Innovation is a global initiative to catalyze 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. It 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 political and action platform addressing clean energy innovation. Its members represent over 95% of global public investments in clean energy innovation and are committing to sustaining and, wherever possible, increasing their investment in clean energy innovation this decade.
The Clean Energy Ministerial is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programmes that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Its membership includes the world’s leading clean energy economies representing over 90% of installed renewable energy generation capacity and over 80% of global clean energy investment. Its 22 workstreams are government-led initiatives and campaigns that bring together policymaker, industry and researcher expertise in all major clean energy sectors.
The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI) will bring the Breakthrough Agenda under their joint stewardship. Mission Innovation is the global initiative catalysing a decade of action and investment in research, development and demonstration to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible for all this decade.
The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions engage non-State actors to support governments in delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement. Working with the Marrakech Partnership – a global alliance of more than 320 major initiatives and coalitions – the Champions enhance the ambition of cities, regions, businesses and investors and other non-State actors, to collectively race towards a fair, resilient and zero carbon world.
Country specific announcements for Breakthrough Agenda:
- Cambodia and Austria have endorsed the Breakthrough Agenda
- Germany has agreed to co-lead the Steel Breakthrough with the UK.
- The UK and Morocco have agreed to co-lead the Power Breakthrough.
- The UK, US and EU have agreed to co-lead the Hydrogen Breakthrough.
- The US, India and UK have agreed to co-leads the Road Transport Breakthrough.
- Egypt and UK have agreed to co-lead the Agriculture Breakthrough
- Australia, Cambodia, Germany and Ireland have endorsed the Agriculture Breakthrough bringing the total number of countries that have endorsed the Agriculture Breakthrough to 13.
- Japan has formally joined the Clean Energy Ministerial Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative as a new member, alongside the UK, Germany, India, US, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Countries signed up to at least one sector’s set of Priority Actions
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, European Commission, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Sweden, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.
47 Breakthrough Agenda signatory countries
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.
Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Industry Transition programme
- The CIF Industry Transition programme aims to accelerate decarbonisation within the industrial sector – which accounts for around 28% of global emissions.
- The new programme will focus on manufacturing sectors such as iron, steel, cement, glass; chemicals and petrochemicals; pulp and paper; and mining.
- Concessional donor funding will leverage additional public and private finance to promote sustainable business practices (at facility, corporate and national levels) and support the scale up of technical solutions (such as heat recovery and green hydrogen).
- An expression of interest process for ODA-eligible countries will be launched after COP27.
Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Capital Market Mechanism (CCMM)
- CCMM will play an important role in the $100bn roadmap and is expected to raise between $5-7.5bn a year over the next 10 years that can be used to support new projects, by bringing forward reflows that are due as late as 2060.
- After an in-depth review, the World Bank finance team has determined that the CCMM has the potential to increase the volume of concessional funding available to mobilize co-financing from participating MDBs in addition to crowding in the private sector, bilateral aid, and domestic resources that work together to provide an essential stream of financial support for developing countries in the fight against climate change.
- The World Bank and relevant stakeholders continue to work on the CCMM design, efficiency and effectiveness, with the goal of officially launching in 2023. It is expected that the World Bank would take on the role of Treasury Manager to the CCMM.
Clean Energy Innovation Facility (CEIF)
- The Facility aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies in developing countries and the expansion is a key part of the UK government’s £1bn Ayrton Fund commitment for clean energy RD&D in countries eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA).
- The Prime Minister’s COP27 announcement of a further £65.5 million for the Facility focuses on accelerating innovative clean energy technologies for clean hydrogen, critical minerals (such as reducing critical minerals use in energy storage technologies) and cross-cutting areas essential to clean energy transitions (clean transport, energy efficiency, industrial decarbonisation, sustainable cooling, energy storage and smart energy).