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RMI: Creating a Zero-Carbon Future for the World

Championing market-based solutions for a better future

Originally posted on Global Thought Leaders on July 9, 2021.

The world has until 2030 to prevent the most dire consequences of climate change. At this moment in time, the future hangs in the balance for that very reason. Unless positive change is pursued now, the world will face unprecedented threats. The fight for a zero-carbon future, in particular, is one fraught with challenges but essential for the preservation of society.

This is a challenge that RMI understands deeply—and works tirelessly to solve.

Striving for a zero-carbon energy transition sits at the heart of what RMI does. Founded in 1982, the institute was established on the principle of transforming resource use for the better. For close to forty years now, RMI has championed market-based solutions to reform global energy use, with the hope of an increasingly sustainable, clean future. In other words, the company decarbonizes energy systems in the “most critical geographies,” acting as a catalyst to revolutionize the way the world uses energy.

RMI’s mission is to help business and industries, cities, states, governments, and policymakers drive the transition towards a zero-carbon future, says Jules Kortenhorst, the organization’s CEO.

Kortenhorst says there is a growing recognition of the physical risks associated with climate change, one that leaders and managers are increasingly tackling in their business practices. This is a complex challenge, one that requires innovation and collaboration of all stakeholders. Facilitating this process is where RMI centers itself, helping corporate drivers to address both the challenges and opportunities they have in front of them.

Beyond businesses, however, the quest for reformation involves several other players, including consumers themselves.

“There is a huge demand for change [now],” explains Cate Hight, principal of Climate-Aligned Industries. “There’s really interesting pressure coming not just from the advocacy community, but also from the consumers. We’re really seeing the conversation moving.”

Reshaping the way buildings use energy is just one of the ways in which this is accomplished. Across urban environments, RMI is working to create healthier buildings by designing creative policies and programs that will drive the demand for improved commercial and residential structures. The fundamental “zero-carbon policy” is applied here, paving the path for carbon-free buildings.

“We need to be a lot more thoughtful about what we put into our homes and how we design them,” says Martha Campbell, principal of Carbon-Free Buildings at RMI. “We spend so much of our time in buildings and they have a significant impact on our health. To basically solve the climate crisis, we have to address the emissions that are coming from buildings.”

Campbell and her team are a component of the many efforts undertaken by RMI to preserve the future of living. Such initiatives are branches of the ecosystem that is RMI, one that identifies meaningful opportunities and utilizes these chances for a better future.

“At RMI, we are neither optimistic nor pessimistic,” says Kortenhorst. “[But] we apply hope to the challenge.”