The world has a viable path to build a global energy sector with net zero emissions by 2050, but it is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation in the way energy is produced, transported and used around the world, said the International Energy Agency in a landmark special report. released today.
Government climate commitments to date – even if fully met – would be well below what is needed to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an equal chance to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C, according to the new report, Net Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy sector.
The report is the world’s first comprehensive study on how to move to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring a stable and affordable energy supply, providing universal access to energy and enabling growth economical robust. It sets out a profitable and economically productive path, resulting in a clean, vibrant and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture, and behavioral changes to achieve net zero.
“Our roadmap shows that the priority actions that are needed today to ensure that the opportunity for net zero emissions by 2050 – narrow but still achievable – is not lost. The scale and speed of the effort 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 facing the humanity has ever been confronted, ”said Fatih Birol, executive director of IEA Director. “The IEA’s path to that brighter future is driving a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and spurs global economic growth. Moving the world forward on this path requires strong and credible political action on the part of governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation. ”
Building on the IEA’s unrivaled energy modeling tools and expertise, the roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones to guide the global journey to net zero by 2050. These include, to As of today, no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects and no other final investment decisions for relentless new coal-fired power plants. By 2035 there will be no sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars and by 2040 the global electricity sector has already achieved net zero emissions.
In the short term, the report describes a path to net zero that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation. The path calls for annual additions of solar photovoltaic power to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts. Together, that’s four times the record high set in 2020. For solar PV, that’s equivalent to installing the world’s largest current solar park just about every day. A major global effort to increase energy efficiency is also a critical part of these efforts, resulting in an overall rate of energy efficiency improvement of 4% per year on average until 2030, or around three times the average of the last two decades.
Most of the global reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 towards net zero come from technologies readily available today. But in 2050, nearly half of the reductions come from technologies that are currently only in the demonstration or prototype phase. This requires governments to rapidly increase and re-prioritize their spending on research and development – as well as the demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies – by placing them at the heart of energy and climate policy. Advances in advanced batteries, electrolyzers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage can be particularly impactful.
A transition of such magnitude and speed cannot be achieved without the sustained support and participation of citizens, whose lives will be affected in so many ways.
“The clean energy transition is for and for people,” said Dr Birol. “Our roadmap shows that the huge 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 no one behind. We must ensure that developing economies receive the financing and technological know-how they need to develop their energy systems to meet the needs of their growing populations and economies in a sustainable manner. “
Providing electricity to an estimated 785 million people without access and clean cooking solutions for the 2.6 billion people who lack it is an integral part of the Roadmap’s net zero path. It costs about $ 40 billion a year, or about 1% of the average annual investment in the energy sector. It also brings major health benefits through the reduction of indoor air pollution, reducing the number of premature deaths by 2.5 million per year.
Total annual energy investment climbs to USD 5 trillion by 2030 on a net zero path, adding an additional 0.4 percentage point per year to global GDP growth, based on joint analysis with the Fund international monetary policy. Rising private and government spending is creating 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 under current trends.
By 2050, the world of energy will be completely different. Global energy demand is about 8% lower than today, but it serves an economy twice the size and a population of 2 billion more. Almost 90% of electricity production comes from renewable sources, with wind power and solar PV together accounting for nearly 70%. Most of the rest comes from nuclear power. Solar is the largest source of total energy supply in the world. Fossil fuels are increasing from nearly four-fifths of total energy supply today to just over one-fifth. The remaining fossil fuels are used in goods where carbon is incorporated into the product such as plastics, in facilities equipped with carbon capture, and in sectors where low-emission technological options are scarce.
“The path set out in our roadmap is global in scope, but each country will have to design its own strategy, taking into account its own specific circumstances,” said Dr Birol. “Plans must reflect the different stages of economic development of countries: in our journey, advanced economies reach net zero before developing economies. The IEA stands ready to help governments prepare their own national and regional roadmaps, provide advice and assistance for their implementation, and promote international cooperation to accelerate the world’s energy transition. “
The special report is designed to inform the high-level negotiations that will take place at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow in November. It was requested as a contribution to the negotiations by the British presidency of COP26.
“I welcome this report, which sets a clear roadmap for net zero emissions and shares many of the priorities we have set as the next COP Presidency – which we must act now to develop clean technologies in all areas. sectors and phase out coal. electric vehicles and pollutants over the next decade, ”said COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma. “I am encouraged that this underscores the great value of international collaboration, without which the transition to global net zero could be delayed by decades. Our first goal for the UK as the presidency of COP26 is to put the world on the path to reducing emissions, until they reach net zero by the middle of this century. “
New energy security challenges will emerge on the path to net zero by 2050, while long-standing challenges will remain, even as the role of oil and gas diminishes. The contraction in the production of oil and natural gas will have far-reaching implications for all countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new deposits of oil and natural gas are needed down the net zero path, and supplies are increasingly focused on a small number of low-cost producers. OPEC’s share of the greatly reduced global oil supply drops from around 37% in recent years to 52% in 2050, a higher level than at any time in the history of the oil markets.
The growing energy security challenges resulting from the growing importance of electricity include the variability of the supply of certain renewable energies and cybersecurity risks. More, increasing dependence on critical minerals needed for key clean energy technologies and infrastructure carries risks of price volatility and supply disruptions that could hamper the transition.
“Since the inception of the IEA in 1974, one of its main missions has been to promote secure and affordable energy supplies to foster economic growth. This has remained a key concern of our Net Zero roadmap, ”said Dr Birol. “Governments need to create markets for investments in batteries, digital solutions and power grids that reward flexibility and enable adequate and reliable supply of electricity. The rapidly growing role of critical minerals calls for new international mechanisms to ensure both the availability of timely supplies and sustainable production.
The full report is available for free on the IEA website with an interactive online interface that highlights some of the key milestones on the path to be taken over the next three decades to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.