The Energy Transition and Decarbonization of Hard-to-Abate Sectors

An accelerated phase-out of high-emitting fossil fuels and unsustainable energy use is key to limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The energy transition and the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors play important roles in this context.  

Renewable energy plant with on-site energy storage. Photo by Petr Malinak via Shutterstock.

The energy transition involves shifting from high-carbon energy sources, such as fossil fuels, to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewables, and encouraging the widespread adoption of abatement technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Implementing these changes requires innovative approaches, enabled by financial incentives, as well as technology and international cooperation.  

Hard-to-abate sectors, which include steel, cement, and heavy transport, are energy intensive and emit high levels of greenhouse gases. The decarbonization of these sectors has, to date, focused on reducing emissions from existing operations. New technologies have the potential to transform these sectors into low- or zero-carbon emitters (e.g., via utilization technologies that inject carbon dioxide into construction materials), but these new approaches require innovative financing solutions. 

Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program includes robust, science-based emission quantification methodologies for accelerating the energy transition and the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors. Projects using these methodologies can get certified with the VCS Program and be issued high-quality carbon credits. The finance generated from the sale of these credits can sustain and scale up the projects’ activities.

To expand the portfolio of available VCS methodologies, Verra is working in tandem with experts (e.g., the CCS+ Initiative) and other stakeholders on developing new methodologies that continue to advance important technologies. The key focus areas for the new methodologies include the following: