Posted by David Sandalow January 17, 2017 Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University

Last October more than 1000 people from around the world convened in Tokyo for the 3rd Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF). With participation from senior government officials, business executives and thought leaders, the conference has become an important forum for dialogue on ways to promote clean energy and protect the planet.
But ICEF is more than an annual conference.  The ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project is a year-round process in which innovation roadmaps are developed to help guide the transition to clean energy.  The roadmaps are presented in draft form each year at the ICEF conference and then released at the annual Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Last year two roadmaps were developed -- one on zero energy buildings and a second on carbon dioxide utilization. Each was presented in draft form at ICEF and then released in Marrakech at COP22.  In 2015, the ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project was launched with a roadmap on distributed solar and storage, presented in draft form at ICEF and then released in Paris at COP21.  These roadmaps are summarized below.

ICEF Zero Energy Buildings Roadmap 1.0
Buildings use roughly 31% of energy globally, according to the IEA.  Deep cuts in building energy use will be required to meet the 2°C goal adopted in the Paris Agreement.
The ICEF Zero Energy Building Roadmap proposes several roadmaps by climate zone, focusing in particular on the role of humidity for indoor comfort. The Roadmap offers proposals in four technology categories: building envelope, equipment, renewable energy integration and energy management. Timelines show expected progress in each category. The Roadmap also makes proposals for immediate stakeholders actions and international technology collaboration.  The full Roadmap can be found at

ICEF Carbon Dioxide Utilization Roadmap 1.0
In the Paris Agreement, more than 190 nations set forth a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions globally in the second half of this century.  To achieve that, carbon negative technologies (those that reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations) will be required.
The ICEF Carbon Dioxide Utilization (CO2U) Roadmap explores the commercialization potential of CO2U technologies through 2030. The roadmap presents a comprehensive categorization of CO2U products, with information about current market dynamics.  It identifies market opportunities in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually and the potential to avoid billions of tons carbon emissions with CO2U products each year.  The Roadmap emphasizes the importance of life cycle analysis when considering the mitigation potential of CO2U technologies and offers policy recommendations for accelerating the development and deployment those technologies.  The full report can be found at

ICEF Distributed Solar and Storage Roadmap 1.0
Solar power is changing the power sector.  Distributed solar and storage technologies can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening grid resilience and improving energy access.
The ICEF Distributed Solar and Storage Roadmap explores pathways for the development of distributed solar and storage technologies in combination through the framework of a scenario planning exercise. It focuses on solar and storage technologies for individual buildings and community microgrids (not solar and storage at utility scale). The study identifies drivers, risks, barriers and opportunities that will determine whether distributed solar and storage technologies can fulfill their potential between now and 2040.  The full roadmap can be found at

Each ICEF Innovation Roadmap has been developed in roughly six months, shorter than the period for developing many technology roadmaps.  As such, they are labeled “1.0” products, recognizing the possibility that 2.0 versions may be developed in the years ahead.
This year more ICEF Innovation Roadmaps will be developed.  We welcome recommendations on how best to prepare the 2017 ICEF Innovation Roadmaps and suggestions for topics that will have the most impact.

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.  He has served in senior positions at the White House, U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Energy.  He is a member of the ICEF Steering Committee and Chair of the ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project.