Decarbonization: Policies and Practices for Countries and Companies


(VIRTUAL) March - April 2022
Instructors: Martin Dietrich Brauch and Perrine Toledano, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment



The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outline a global consensus on the interlinked needs to curb human-induced climate change and to achieve sustainable development. The underlying transitions needed to achieve both the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs include rapid decarbonization of our global economy and a scale-up of new technologies to meet the needs of a growing and modernizing population. 

The workshop will aim at deciphering what decarbonization means in practice, taking a multi-disciplinary perspective. Participants will learn about the opportunities and challenges of decarbonization embracing different perspectives, from a global level to a country level to a company level. Participants will be exposed to the various disciplines at play in forming the decarbonization agenda and strategies: international law, economics, development and climate policies, technology, finance, and carbon or greenhouse gas accounting.

Learners will walk away with clear ideas on the imperative of decarbonization, the current state of decarbonization, and the measures necessary at all levels to mitigate climate change.

Learning Objectives/Themes:

  • Decarbonization pathways – what does this mean? What are the main agreements the world signed onto that form the decarbonization agenda? What does the International Energy Agency (IEA) tell us about the pathways? Will it be costly? Will the world be better off? Are there sectors that are difficult to decarbonize? What promises technologies hold for us? What are the risks of relying on offsets? Should developing countries, the least responsible for the climate crisis, decarbonize too?
  • How to make, measure, and monitor progress? What are the global trends in carbon pricing? Does the world have the right tools to measure progress? Is there a problem with greenhouse gas or carbon accounting? What are the disclosure requirements on climate? Do they help monitoring, decision making, and enforcement?
  • Can the force of global governance and international law be leveraged to make progress? Why is the international legal framework relevant for the climate change agenda? Under its current form, is it an enabler of decarbonization, or a barrier? What reforms are necessary to ensure that global governance is effective in supporting decarbonization?
  • Decarbonization in practice: Taking the example of one country, Paraguay, and two economic sectors, mining and petroleum, we will look at current practices, challenges, and opportunities when it comes to decarbonization.  

Who this workshop is intended for:

This workshop is intended for individuals who have an interest in policies and practices enabling climate change mitigation, and are looking to gain a greater understanding of the implications of decarbonization on energy systems, economic development policies, and two sectors in particular, oil and gas, and mining. Learners will walk away with core competencies including foundations of decarbonization policies, enabling technologies, and opportunities and challenges of implementation from the perspectives of governments and companies. The workshop will be accessible to learners from different backgrounds with basic understanding of the urgency to take climate action.

Suggested Background for Workshop:Participants should have a basic understanding of the world’s global agenda on climate change and the SDGs.

Learning modalities:

This workshop will be offered in a virtual format via Zoom. It will feature a mixture of lecture, discussion, and audio/visual materials. Guest speakers will share their practical knowledge and experience as well. 

Please note that all workshops are taught in English. Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

Schedule: (VIRTUAL) March – April 2022. Please note that Session 1-3 will take place on Wednesdays and sessions 4-6 will take place on Sundays.

  1. Session 1: Wednesday, March 9, 5:30 – 8:00pm EST
  2. Session 2: Wednesday, March 16, 5:30 – 8:00pm EDT
  3. Session 3: Wednesday, March 23, 5:30 – 8:00pm EDT
  4. Session 4: Sunday, March 27, 9:00 – 11:30am EDT
  5. Session 5: Sunday, April 3, 9:00 – 11:30am EDT
  6. Session 6: Sunday, April 10, 9:00 – 11:30am EDT