The new study published by Princeton in December 2020 outlining five paths to a net-zero future is laudable (Environmental Studies: The Paths to Net-Zero, PAW February 2021), but it is important that PAW readers know that the study was funded by fossil fuel companies. According to the University’s announcement, funding for the research was provided by BP through the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton’s High Meadows Environmental Institute and ExxonMobil through Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

That context is important when reading that “in four out of five pathways, some use of fossil fuels would persist and would be offset by carbon capture.” We can only imagine what might have happened had the research been funded by a neutral organization or even by a renewable energy company – perhaps it might still have been 4 to 1 … but the other way around?

Lynne Archibald ’87
Lisbon, Portugal