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Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Achieving Net-Zero: Examining near and long-term greenhouse gas commitments

Oct 7, 2022, 7:15am - 12:30pm

Photo button from a collection of different images from the EPN September Breakfast

Program Overview

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.

12:30 p.m. Program concludes, continued networking opportunity.

EPN Breakfast Speakers

Visions for 2050 Panelists

Additional Information

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 ( 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.

EPN Breakfast Series

The Environmental Professionals Network hosts a monthly breakfast series with compelling speakers on important innovative topics at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State’s campus - open to all!