The world has a viable pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050, but it is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported, and used globally, the International Energy Agency said in a new report.
The report ‘Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector’ which is the world’s first comprehensive energy roadmap and was designed to inform the high-level negotiations at COP 26 in November, stresses that climate pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance to align with Paris Agreement.
Our Roadmap shows the priority actions that are needed today to ensure the opportunity of net-zero emissions by 2050 – narrow but still achievable – is not lost. The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal – our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced,
…said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.
As such, the Roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones to guide the global journey to net-zero by 2050, including no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, and no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants. By 2035, there are no sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars, and by 2040, the global electricity sector has already reached net-zero emissions.
The global pathway to net‐zero emissions by 2050 detailed in this report requires all governments to significantly strengthen and then successfully implement their energy and climate policies.
In the net zero emissions pathway presented, the world economy in 2030 is some 40% larger than today but uses 7% less energy. A major worldwide push to increase energy efficiency is an essential part of these efforts, resulting in the annual rate of energy intensity improvements averaging 4% to 2030 – about three‐times the average rate achieved over the last two decades.
Emissions reductions from the energy sector are not limited to CO2: in our pathway, methane emissions from fossil fuel supply fall by 75% over the next ten years as a result of a global, concerted effort to deploy all available abatement measures and technologies.
A transition of such scale and speed cannot be achieved without sustained support and participation from citizens, whose lives will be affected in multiple ways, the report also finds.
Our Roadmap shows that the enormous challenge of rapidly transitioning to a net zero energy system is also a huge opportunity for our economies. The transition must be fair and inclusive, leaving nobody behind. We have to ensure that developing economies receive the financing and technological know-how they need to build out their energy systems to meet the needs of their expanding populations and economies in a sustainable way,
…explains Dr Birol.
Total annual energy investment surges to USD 5 trillion by 2030 in the net zero pathway, adding an extra 0.4 percentage points a year to global GDP growth, based on a joint analysis with the International Monetary Fund. The jump in private and government spending creates millions of jobs in clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industries. All of this puts global GDP 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends.
Priority actions for policymakers
- Make the 2020s the decade of massive clean energy expansion
- Prepare for the next phase of the transition by boosting innovation
- Clean energy jobs will grow strongly but must be spread widely
- Set near-term milestones to get on track for long-term targets
- Drive a historic surge in clean energy investment
- Address emerging energy security risks now
- Take international co-operation to new heights
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