Our Approach Getting to Zero

The Most Ambitious Innovation Effort in Human History

Every year, the world emits 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. To prevent a climate disaster, we need to lower that number to zero by 2050, and we need to act now to do it.

Virtually everything we do—growing things, making things, getting from place to place, leading a comfortable daily life—releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By 2050, as global living standards improve (which is a good thing), energy demands are expected to increase dramatically. If nothing else changes, emissions will go up by nearly as much.

At the same time, the global population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2100. That means we will need more food, more vehicles, and more housing to accommodate everyone.

So we don’t just need to get to zero. We need to do it while bringing more products and services to more people in more places. We need to create a world where everyone has access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.

Getting to Zero Means


Defining the problem

We need new clean technologies so we can do everything we do today—from eating lunch and charging our phones to flying on planes and building skyscrapers—without putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That will require innovation across every major sector of the economy: electricity, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and buildings.

We call these the Five Grand Challenges of climate change.

Prioritizing Solutions

To help us figure out where to start, we use a calculation we call the Green Premium: the additional cost that comes with choosing a clean technology over one that emits more greenhouse gases.

Our goal is to reduce that premium, bringing down the costs of clean technologies so consumers and industries will use them.

Working Together

There’s no magic bullet. We need to change almost everything about the way we live, and no single person, policy, or technology can do it alone. That’s why we’re bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders to move us from ideas to action at scale.

Understanding the Problem