Net zero and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C remains possible due to the growth of clean energy technologies, though momentum needs to increase, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
the original report that was published in 2021. The 2023 Update incorporates significant changes to the energy landscape in the past two years, including the post-pandemic economic rebound and the extraordinary growth in some clean energy technologies – but also increased investment in fossil fuels and stubbornly high emissions.he new Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach report, sets out a global pathway to keep the 1.5 °C goal in reach, providing an update to
Global renewable power capacity
Yet bolder action is necessary this decade. In this year’s updated net zero pathway, global renewable power capacity triples by 2030. Meanwhile, the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements doubles, sales of electric vehicles and heat pumps rise sharply, and energy sector methane emissions fall by 75%.
These strategies, which are based on proven and often cost-effective technologies for lowering emissions, together deliver more than 80% of the reductions needed by the end of the decade.
Keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires the world to come together quickly. The good news is we know what we need to do – and how to do it.
… said IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol
Route to net zero emissions
The Roadmap outlines a route to net zero emissions for the global energy sector by 2050 but recognises the importance of fostering an equitable transition that takes different national circumstances into account.
For example, advanced economies reach net zero sooner to allow emerging and developing economies more time. The net zero pathway achieves full access to modern forms of energy for all by 2030, through annual investment of nearly USD 45 billion per year – just over 1% of energy sector investment.
Nonetheless, staying on track means almost all countries must move forward their targeted net zero dates. It also hinges on mobilising a significant increase in investment, especially in emerging and developing economies. In the new zero pathway, global clean energy spending rises from USD 1.8 trillion in 2023 to USD 4.5 trillion annually by the early 2030s.
In the updated net zero scenario, a huge policy-driven ramping up of clean energy capacity drives fossil fuel demand 25% lower by 2030, reducing emissions by 35% compared with the all-time high recorded in 2022. By 2050, fossil fuel demand falls by 80%.
As a result, no new long-lead-time upstream oil and gas projects are needed. Neither are new coal mines, mine extensions or new unabated coal plants. Nonetheless, continued investment is required in some existing oil and gas assets and already approved projects.
Sequencing the increase in clean energy investment and the decline of fossil fuel supply investment is vital if damaging price spikes or supply gluts are to be avoided.
More resilient and diverse supply chains for clean energy technologies and the critical minerals needed to make them are key to building an energy sector with net zero emissions, according to the report. However, it is equally vital that supply chains remain open, given the pace and scope of clean energy development required.
The report also stresses the importance of stronger international cooperation to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. It warns that a failure to sufficiently step up ambition and implementation between now and 2030 would create additional climate risks and make achieving the 1.5 °C goal dependant on the massive deployment of carbon removal technologies, which are expensive and unproven at scale.
A failure to expand clean energy quickly enough by 2030 means nearly 5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would have to be removed from the atmosphere every year during the second half of this century. If carbon removal technologies fail to deliver at such scale, returning the temperature to 1.5 °C would not be possible.
Removing carbon from the atmosphere is very costly. We must do everything possible to stop putting it there in the first place. The pathway to 1.5 °C has narrowed in the past two years, but clean energy technologies are keeping it open.
… concluded IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol