Achieving Net-Zero: Examining near and long-term greenhouse gas commitments
To align with the Paris Agreement on climate change, businesses are signing up in record numbers to "roadmaps" such as the Science Based Target Initiatives. These guidances help corporations reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change goals for limiting warming. GHG reduction goals can be categorized into near-term (2030) and long-term (2050) commitments, as well as Scope 1, 2, and 3 emission measures and performance targets.
To reach near and long-term GHG commitments, it is critical to collaboratively implement and invest in effective climate technologies. Progress in the sustainability field requires robust partnerships and collaboration across government, industry, corporations, academia, and more. These sectors also need to deepen their understanding about the interactions and tradeoffs between various GHG reduction goals.
As one of many tools, energy based GHG emissions reductions are at the core of near-term sustainability planning. The pursuit of GHG reductions, including humanity’s progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7.2.1 (to substantially increase the share of renewable energy consumed globally), involves a significant expansion in the use of utility-scale solar energy by 2030. For example, here in the U.S. Midwest, demand for utility-scale solar is growing, in part, to meet sustainability commitments, including targeted efforts by entities to reduce their Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emission types.
This four-hour symposium serves as an opportunity for sustainability stakeholders at the intersection of business, policy, and STEM research to facilitate conversations around innovation, global challenges, and how to invest time and capital into net-zero solutions pertinent to Ohio and the broader U.S Midwest region. This program will provide engaging and informative examples of entities navigating their monitoring and reporting of Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions for 2030 and 2050.
Our first session (8:15 to 9:30 a.m.) will utilize a tangible example, the demand for, and development of, utility scale solar energy production in Ohio, to investigate the complex and interacting dynamics associated with GHG reduction strategies within our local community. This session will dive deep into the drivers of Ohio solar, relate this to organizational accounting of GHG emissions, and show how enhanced levels of investment into renewable energy sources will impact our region in the near term (2030). This discussion will address the many sides of utility-scale solar siting in Ohio and its implications to land, water, and renewable energy portfolio and corporate net zero goals, and will set the stage for the workshop session to follow. This first session will be livestreamed for a virtual audience.
Our second session (9:45 to 12:30 p.m.), Visions for 2050, takes the form of a unique dialogue and discussion among participants on the most encouraging GHG emission reduction tools and strategies for GHG capture, sequestration, use, and storage solutions. The interactive format of these sessions is designed to provide speakers and attendees the opportunity to explore, dispute and discuss these topics to advance awareness and understanding of innovative and emerging technologies, regulatory frameworks, policy tools, and organizational management and investment strategies to reach net-zero.
This two-part workshop will first explore strategies to reduce GHG emissions. Then it will address strategies designed to actively capture, sequester, use and store GHG on a long-term (2050) time horizon. Each part, 75-minutes in length, will consist of an introductory expert panel presenting on specified GHG management strategies, a facilitated, small group discussion between attendees and panelists, and a report back and deliberation session. This session will be reserved for an in-person audience only. The geographical emphasis is on factors especially pertinent to Ohio and the broader U.S Midwest region over a long-term (2050) time horizon.
For Business and Organizational Leaders: Provide an opportunity to educate attendees of GHG reduction and reporting challenges, learn about new trends, and communicate with stakeholders. Organizations will have more clarity on investment tradeoffs and realizing the business value of GHG accounting.
For Policy Experts: Gain a new understanding of the factors that influence climate policy outcomes, attain a holistic perspective of the relevant stakeholders, and allow them to communicate insights on future climate action.
For Researchers and Academics: Provide exposure to climate innovations in the context of developing business and policy strategies. Academics will help identify scientific and engineering challenges alongside potential solutions in GHG reduction, capture, sequestration, use, and storage.
For Students: Create a window to the evolving frontier of GHG reduction solutions, their implementation, and how external actors can facilitate or negate them. Students will learn how they can invest themselves into the future of climate progress.
7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees.
7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees.
8:00 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.
8:10 a.m. Eric Toman, PhD (interim director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources) provides welcome remarks.
8:15 a.m. Michael Webber, PhD (Josey Centennial Professorship in Energy Resources, The University of Texas at Austin) provides an overview of targeted GHG emission mitigation goals, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed climate-related disclosure in public company filings, the Science Based Targets Initiative, ESG reporting, and aggregated power purchase agreements. Dr. Webber is the only speaker who will present virtually during this program.
8:30 a.m. Jeff Bielicki, PhD (Energy Sustainability Research Laboratory, The Ohio State University), Rebecca Karason, CEM (senior vice president, environmental strategy & sustainability director, The Huntington National Bank), and Chief John Kessler, PE (chief of real estate, Office of Real Estate & Land Management, Ohio Department of Natural Resources) use the example of increased utility-scale solar siting in Ohio to explore the complexities of organizational accounting of GHG emissions and show how enhanced levels of investment into renewable energy sources will impact our region in the near term (2030). This panel will address the greatest potential and limitations for utility-scale solar to meet renewable energy goals by 2030.
9:15 a.m. Audience Q & A session for both in-person and virtual audiences.
9:30 a.m. Dr. Toman concludes EPN Breakfast program component. Break and networking session for in-person guests. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees.
9:45 a.m. Visions for 2050 interactive workshop session begins.
Each of these two 75-minute sessions will first consist of an introductory expert panel presenting on each of the specified GHG management strategies listed below, which will then be followed by a facilitated, small group discussion session between attendees and panelists, and a discussion and report back session.
Energy efficiency, consumption, and waste reduction in large physical spaces by Aparna Dial (senior director, Sustainability and Strategic Services, The Ohio State University)
Technological advancements in the energy sector and retrofitting existing infrastructure by Randy Keefer, PE, PMP (engineering supervisor, Generation Engineering Technologies, American Electric Power)
Carbon tax strategies by Brent Sohngen, PhD (professor of environmental and resource economics, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University)
Circular economy strategies for waste stream reduction and sustainability in the textiles industry by Tasha Lewis, PhD (associate professor-clinical, Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University)
A rainbow of solutions to convert GHG into green hydrogen by Caitlin Holley, PE, PMP (program manager, ENGIE)
CO2 capture, storage, and C02-driven geothermal power systems by Martina Leveni, PhD (LEGACY postdoctoral scholar, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University)
Nature-based solutions – soils by Scott Demyan, PhD (assistant professor of Soil and Environmental Mineralogy (SENR), The Ohio State University)
Nature-based solutions – forests by Roger Williams, PhD (associate professor, Forest Ecosystem Analysis and Management (SENR), The Ohio State University)
12:30 p.m. Program concludes, continued networking opportunity.
EPN Breakfast Speakers
Dr. Michael Webber is the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources, Author, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches and conducts research at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization. Webber has authored more than 500 scientific articles, columns, books, and book chapters, including op-eds in the New York Times and features in Scientific American. His book Power Trip: the Story of Energy, which received a glowing review by The New York Times, was published May 7, 2019 by Basic Books. An award-winning 6-part companion series for the book aired on PBS starting Earth Day 2020 and has reached over 1 million viewers. His first book, Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival addresses the connection between earth’s most valuable resources with a hopeful approach toward a sustainable future and received wide praise. To accompany this book, a one hour documentary was created that has received recognition at numerous film festivals including the Environmental Film Festival in Washington D.C. and EarthX in Dallas, TX. He also authored The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power (2020) with Roger Duncan. His latest book From Athletics to Engineering: 8 Ways to Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was co-authored with former NFL all-pro Johnnie Johnson and will be published in early 2021. From September 2018 to August 2021, Dr. Webber was also based in Paris, France to serve as the Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a global energy & infrastructure services company with 170,000 employees in 70 countries and $60B+ in annual revenues.
Dr. Bielicki runs the Energy Sustainability Research Laboratory where he and his students research issues in which energy and environmental systems and policy interact, specifically on topics related to carbon management, renewable energy, and the energy-water nexus. He is a Research Lead for Sustainable Energy at the Ohio State University’s Sustainability Institute and is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering and in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Dr. Bielicki is also on the faculty of the Environmental Science Graduate Program and has a courtesy appointment in the City and Regional Planning section of the Knowlton School of Architecture. Dr. Bielicki holds a Ph.D. (Harvard University), an M.P.A. (Harvard University), an M.B.A. (University of Chicago), and a B.S. (Valparaiso University). Prior to returning to graduate school, Dr. Bielicki was a mechanical engineer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he primarily worked on devices and infrastructure that produce antiprotons. His academic and research appointments have included being a Non-Resident Scholar (in lieu of Visiting Fellow) at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment, a Visiting Professor at ETH-Zurich, a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, a Weinberg Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Fellow at the Baker Center for Public Policy (University of Tennessee), and a Research Fellow with the Energy Technology Innovation Policy group at Harvard University. A blackbelt in taekwondo, in his free time Dr. Bielicki likes to run, practice yoga and improvisational comedy, teach himself how to play acoustic guitar, and be the best dad he can be.
Rebecca Karason oversees energy and sustainability across Huntington’s eight state footprint. Environmental and social stewardship are critical elements in the business decisions that we make on a daily basis. We strive to do the right thing for our people and for the planet. An energy expert with over a decade of energy efficiency experience, Rebecca has a diverse background in sales, account management and program outreach. Prior to joining Huntington, she served in various capacities at American Electric Power including program manager for the Business Incentive Program. Throughout her career, Rebecca has worked with customers and contractors across the state of Ohio helping them develop and implement energy efficiency projects for their facilities. Committed to connecting colleagues to sustainability, Rebecca created the first-ever Huntington Green Team, a cross functional group of colleagues that generates, exchanges and evaluates ideas to increase Huntington’s environmental performance and to lower its carbon footprint. Rebecca earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a certified energy manager and serves on the board for the Columbus Association of Energy Engineers.
As Chief of the Division of Real Estate and Land Management (REALM), John Kessler oversees ODNR's real estate support services including acquisitions, sales, leases, licenses, and oversight of professional survey, title, appraisal, recreational grant and environmental services. An ODNR employee since 2004, Kessler's previous positions include Environmental Services Administrator for REALM and Assistant Chief of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Prior to coming to ODNR, John worked for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for 12 years. A native of Columbus, Kessler holds bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from The Ohio State University and is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in Ohio. In his free time, he enjoys running and bicycling.
Visions for 2050 Panelists
Aparna Dial has a distinguished public service record with over 20 years of administrative, strategic and operational experience. As the Senior Director for Sustainability and Strategic Services, she leads sustainability initiatives, refuse and recycling services, landscaping, roads, and grounds services at The Ohio State University and The Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC). She is also responsible for leadership, strategic planning, development, coordination and implementation of programs, standards and policies for her areas of responsibility. Previously, she was the Deputy Director of Public Service and the Smart Columbus Program Manager for the City of Columbus. She successfully led the city’s USDOT Smart City Challenge application, and was instrumental in winning the $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation Smart Cities Challenge grant and $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Prior to her work at the city she served as the Director of Energy Services and Sustainability at The Ohio State University and as the University Energy and Sustainability Engineer. She has also worked for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in the Division of Surface Water and the Ohio EPA Division of Air Pollution Control. She has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Osmania University, India, an Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University and an MBA with a focus in finance from The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.
Randy is an engineering supervisor within American Electric Power’s Generation Engineering Technologies (ET) business unit in Columbus, OH. His team’s predominant, current focus is on new and emerging zero-emitting, load-following generation resources that will have to be deployed in order to meet AEP’s strategic objective to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Randy’s team works closely with AEP’s Resource Planning team on integration of these resources into system planning and modeling tools in the efforts to establish the lowest cost path to achieving AEP’s goals. His group leads the budget and engagement with several R&D organizations where AEP invests monies in low carbon generation technology research such as bulk energy storage, carbon capture and advanced generation, hydrogen CTs, solar, wind, and advanced nuclear/small modular reactors (SMRs). Predominant organizations include the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC), the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI), and EPRI-GTI’s Low Carbon Resource Initiative (LCRI). Prior to his current role, Randy was the engineering manager for ten coal-plant flue gas scrubber and SCR retrofit installation projects across AEP’s eastern territory. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Ohio as well as a certified Project Management Professional. Randy is an alumnus of Carnegie-Mellon University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and served for twenty years in the United States Naval Submarine Service. Prior to AEP he worked in a variety of civilian industries including pulp and paper, DOE uranium enrichment, and the NRC.
Dr. Lewis is the Nina Mae Mattus Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Human Sciences, where she teaches courses in Fashion and Retail Studies. Prior to joining the College of Education and Human Ecology, she was an associate professor at Cornell University where she taught courses in fashion design management and served as a contributing faculty member for Bank of America’s Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship and eCornell. Lewis is widely published in journals such as the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Fashion Practice and the Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice. She has contributed to four textbooks: Sustainable Apparel, Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion, Successful Technological Integration for Competitive Advantage in Retail Settings and The Fashion Business Reader: An Interdisciplinary and Global Approach, both from Bloomsbury Publishing. She has worked in the apparel industry in areas of production, sourcing and retail operations and maintains ongoing contact with industry professionals to inform her research. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture and is a member of Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Practices. PhD, Cornell University, Fiber Science and Apparel Design, 2009; MS, The Ohio State University, Consumer and Textile Science, 2000; BA, The Ohio State University, Spanish Language and Literature, 1995.
Dr. Brent Sohngen is a professor of environmental and resource economics in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. Dr. Sohngen received his doctorate in environmental and resource economics from Yale University in 1996. He conducts research on the economics of land-use change, the design of incentive mechanisms for water and carbon trading, carbon sequestration, and valuation of environmental resources. Dr. Sohngen developed a global forest and land use model that has been widely used to assess the implications of climate change on ecosystems and markets, and to assess the costs of carbon sequestration in forests. Dr. Sohngen has written or co-written over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 60 monographs and book chapters. He co-authored sections of the 2001 and 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, and he co-authored the forestry chapter of the most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment Report. He teaches courses on “Food, Population, and the Environment” and “Energy, the Environment, and the Economy”.
Caitlin is on the core team within the ENGIE office at The Ohio State University, supporting the University in energy projects, including energy planning for a carbon neutral future. As a part of the capital projects team at the University, Caitlin’s focus is to develop and lead energy projects as well as create and manage a toolbox of existing and emerging technologies to fulfill the University’s specific energy needs. Her work on campus includes developing projects with consideration to improving sustainability and reducing carbon footprint, while meeting each facility’s resiliency needs, and balancing financial and operational considerations. Caitlin in an alumnus of The Ohio State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Ohio as well as a certified Project Management Professional. Her work previous to ENGIE includes energy research for industrial and government agencies in support of emerging technologies and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
Dr. Martina Leveni is a Legacy Postdoctoral Scholar in the department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University. She holds a B.S. and a M.S. in engineering geology from the University of Milan-Bicocca (Italy). She obtained a PhD in Industrial Engineering from University of Rome Niccolò Cusano (Italy). Before joining Ohio State, she worked as research engineer at the University of South Florida, Tampa, on innovative multi-generation systems. Her research interests include thermodynamics, energy analysis, applied geology, reservoir modeling, with focus on renewable energies, and negative emissions systems. Martina was born in Seregno, a small city near Milan, Italy, and she is a huge fan of teas and cookies.
Dr. Scott Demyan is an assistant professor of Soil and Environmental Mineralogy (SENR). Dr. Demyan joined the SENR faculty in January 2017 with a focus on carbon permanence. He conducts research in the areas of soil organic matter and mineral stabilization mechanisms, inorganic carbon dynamics, and ex situ mineral carbonation as a sequestration method. He received his PhD. in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany in 2013. An Ohio State alumnus, Dr. Demyan received his MSc. in Soil Science and BSc. from SENR.
This program was developed in coordination with Zach Richards and Sasha Haines. Zach and Sasha provided the initial idea for a Sustainability Investment & Technology Symposium (SITS) on Driving Emerging Climate Conversations at The Ohio State University. They envisioned a one-day, in-person symposium bringing together sustainability stakeholders at the intersection of Business, Policy, and STEM to facilitate conversations around innovation, global challenges, and how to invest time and capital into net-zero solutions. Some specific topic areas they suggested in developing this program, including emerging technologies, manufacturing and supply chain challenges, consumer engineering, social responsibility, and more, are the subject of this program.
Thank you for your organizing work, Sasha and Zach!
Zach Richards is a chemical engineering student in his senior year at Ohio State, where he has held various involvements including president and VP of project management for Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club (BUCC). His interest in climate technology was spurred while working in Oil and Gas and evolved into work with a Direct Air Capture startup and Boston Consulting Group's Climate and Sustainability practice.
Sasha Haines is a junior in finance, minoring in economics and public policy at Ohio State with various involvements including president of Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations (SCNO) and membership in the 26th Honors Cohort. Her work experiences include operating her own debate resource company to working as an international financial analyst at the Cleveland Clinic. Her passion for sustainability stems from her interest in how business strategy and policy levers impact climate outcomes.
We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Joe Campbell (email@example.com). Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.
Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page.
The first 90 minutes of this program (8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. EST) will be livestreamed on the EPN YouTube page.