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Innovation, ESG Scores, and the Net Zero Economy

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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scoring and disclosures have widespread support as the means to achieve zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—the Global Net Zero Economy transformation. However, sustained economic and societal progress have always been driven primarily by innovation, not by keeping score. The recent SEC proposal for detailed and mandatory environmental reporting may have an unintended consequence of creating a blind eye for the kind of innovations that would actually deliver significant emission reductions.

Cost-effective technologies evolve over time through the interplay of R&D advancements, competition, and increased adoption, which leads to declining costs. Heliogen has developed a closed-loop electrolysis system that utilizes sunlight to generate green hydrogen. Small modular (nuclear) reactors, being commercialized by NuScale Power and others, could also produce green hydrogen through the electrolysis of water and are well suited to replace coal and natural gas turbine fired electricity plants. As new technologies evolve, so too will competition for electric battery vehicles. For example, the longer the trip and the heavier the vehicle, the more competitive hydrogen-powered vehicles (including trucks and trains) become.

Currently, thirty countries have announced hydrogen transition strategies. The scale of the hydrogen economy that emerges in the future is heavily dependent upon firms’ […]

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