Carbon Mitigation Initiative

Since 2000, bp has contributed more than $45 million to the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) at Princeton University.

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Photo by Sameer A. Kahn/Fotobuddy

Decarbonization research

Administered by the school’s High Meadows Environmental Institute, CMI is an independent academic research program that explores sustainable solutions to carbon emissions and climate change. bp’s sponsorship is the largest and longest industry partnership in Princeton’s history.

Composed of 15 lead faculty investigators and more than 40 research staff and students, the program brings together top experts from around the world to analyze both the economic and the technological challenges of decarbonization. Over the past two decades, CMI associates have published more than 800 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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Net-Zero America Project

Through our support for CMI, bp also supports Princeton’s Net-Zero America Project (NZAP), which examines how the US can achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases. In a December 2020 report, NZAP outlined five technological pathways for reaching net zero emissions by 2050 while keeping overall US energy spending in line with historical norms (i.e., between 4% and 6% of gross domestic product).

Across these scenarios, the report identified six pillars of a successful transition:

  • end-use energy efficiency and electrification

  • clean electricity (such as wind and solar generation)

  • zero-carbon fuels and feedstocks

  • carbon capture, utilization, and storage

  • a reduction in non-carbon emissions (such as methane)

  • enhanced land sinks

In his foreword to the report, Harvard professor John Holdren, who served as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama, said it provides “an unprecedented degree of clarity and granularity about possible pathways to mid-century ‘net zero’ for this country.”

The NZAP research helped inform a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee chaired by Princeton professor and CMI director Stephen Pacala. In February 2021, the NASEM committee published its own report on ways to accelerate the decarbonization of America’s energy system.

“There seems to be a recognition happening all at once in different parts of the world, in companies, board rooms, halls of government and the academy that the transformation of our energy system to net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases is feasible, economic and necessary.”

Stephen Pacala
CMI director

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