Rocky Mountain Institute’s 13 ways to tackle climate change

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Getty Image - Marco Bottigelli
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
2 December 2020
The scientific consensus is clear – if we are to hold global temperature rise to 1.5°C, carbon emissions must be halved by 2030, and net-zero achieved by 2050.

Achieving this is Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) driving mission and in its new annual report RMI shares its ambitious solutions for 1.5°C global climate alignment.

“There is no doubt that humanity has been dealt a difficult hand in 2020. A global pandemic and resulting economic instability have sown tremendous uncertainty for now and for the future. Record-breaking natural disasters - hurricanes, floods, and wildfires - have devastated communities resulting in deep personal suffering. Meanwhile, we have entered the decisive decade for our Earth’s climate - with just 10 years to halve global emissions to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement before we cause irreparable damage to our planet and all life it supports,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of RMI.

RMI transform the energy system through its model of ‘Think, Do, Scale’ - providing thought leadership, implementing demonstration projects, and then growing impact through shaping the market. Its new global programmes will work within this model as it phases out fossil fuel use, transitions to clean power, and slashes carbon emissions.

Getty Image - Ashley Cooper
Getty Image - Ashley Cooper

Below is a glimpse of each of the new global programmes. To learn even more about RMI’s work and energy solutions for this decisive decade, download the annual report.

  • Carbon-Free Electricity: Bringing the benefits of clean energy to all - transforming global power systems to support modern, low-carbon economies.

  • Carbon-Free Buildings: Ending the burning of fossil fuels to power and construct buildings, solving a hidden health crisis, and bringing buildings - the heart of our day-to-day - into the forefront of the solution.

  • Carbon-Free Mobility: Ending tailpipe emissions from on-road transportation to create cleaner air, save millions of lives, and establish viable zero emissions pathways.

  • Climate Intelligence: Radically improving how critical global climate investments are made by bringing data, intelligence, and people together.

  • Breakthrough Technologies: Unlocking the rapid innovation, deployment, and market adoption of critical climate technologies.

  • Climate-Aligned Industries: Putting energy-using industry sectors on par with nations as engines of rapid decarbonisation - leveraging the real economy to speed solutions.

  • Energy Transition Academy: Connecting developing countries’ clean energy champions and political leaders with online leadership and technical training, climate finance resources, and best practices.

  • Urban Transformation: Leveraging the power of global leading cities to adopt climate solutions that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable while serving economic growth.

  • US Program: Getting the United States on track to achieve a 1.5°C climate goal.

  • China Program: Helping China peak carbon emissions by 2030 on a path to a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

  • India Program: Supporting India in decreasing ~9.5 gigatons of emissions across its transport, buildings, and power sectors over the next 10 years.

  • Africa, Southeast Asia, and Islands Program: Creating market conditions and investment opportunities to accelerate the energy transition in developing countries through direct market engagement, capacity building, and on-the-ground projects.

  • Strategic Engagement: Showing the world that the pathway to net-zero carbon emissions is achievable, affordable, and beneficial.


In December 2014, Carbon War Room (which was co-founded in 2009 by Richard Branson and a team of like-minded entrepreneurs wanting to speed up the adoption of market-based solutions to climate change) merged with the Rocky Mountain Institute – a US-based NGO, dedicated to transforming global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.