Most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to a few specific sectors. Industries and their associated infrastructure directly cause 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions; when indirect emissions from power and heat generation are included, that number rises to 34%. Meanwhile, the transportation sector accounts for 15% of all emissions and energy used in buildings accounts for 26% of energy-related emissions.

Reducing emissions in these sectors will require shifting energy demand away from fossil fuels. That includes reducing overall consumption through strategies from boosting energy efficiency to shifting human behavior, as well as shifting energy use to cleaner alternatives. To accomplish this, the world needs to rapidly adopt cost-competitive low-carbon technologies and fuels and implement new standards.

WRI supports this global effort by producing rigorous research on the latest decarbonization opportunities, informing policy decisions, and engaging with key stakeholders in government, industry, finance and the built environment. Our work around the globe helps governments and the private sector create enabling policies, implement robust standards, foster sustainable business ecosystems and scale up adoption and deployment of technologies.

Alongside reducing emissions, these efforts can deliver benefits to local communities, such as reduced pollution and increased economic prosperity.

WRI currently works on decarbonizing energy consumption in the following areas:


Through projects such as the Industrial Innovation & Decarbonization Initiative, WRI helps shift industrial energy use away from fossil fuels. This involves supporting measures to reduce energy intensity, switch processes to clean electricity and heat where possible, develop zero-carbon fuels such as green hydrogen, and capture and sequester any emissions that can’t otherwise be eliminated. ​WRI leverages expertise and hands-on learnings from across our network of country and global teams to accelerate progress in key sectors.


WRI supports governments to reduce emissions from the buildings sector through policy advice, peer learning and development of business models. Strategies include improving energy efficiency and scaling up low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps to decarbonize energy use in buildings.


WRI is working to cut transport emissions by electrifying as many vehicles as possible. We produce research, help tighten vehicle standards and set targets, enable shifts in transportation preferences, and stimulate public and private investment in transportation infrastructure.


Cover image by: Pavel Babic/istockphoto