Global energy transformation: a roadmap to 2050

Global energy transformation: a roadmap to 2050

Renewable energy needs to be scaled up at least six times faster for the world to meet the decarbonisation and climate mitigation goals set out in the Paris Agreement, says Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050.

The historic 2015 climate accord seeks, at minimum, to limit average global temperature rise to “well below 2°C” in the present century, compared to pre-industrial levels. As this 2018 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows, renewable energy and energy efficiency can, in combination, provide over 90% of the necessary energy-related CO2 emission reductions.

Furthermore, this can happen using technologies that are safe, reliable, affordable and widely available. While different paths can mitigate climate change, renewables and energy efficiency provide the optimal pathway to deliver most of the emission cuts needed at the necessary speed.

Actual carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends are not yet on track.  Under current and planned policies, (including Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement), the world would exhaust its energy-related carbon budget in less than 20 years. Even then, fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal would continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come.

The “carbon budget” to keep global warming below 2o C will run out in under 20 years.

Source: Irena

 

Keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) is technically feasible. It would also be more economically, socially and environmentally beneficial than the path resulting from current plans and policies, known in the report as the Reference Case. However, the global energy system must undergo a profound transformation, replacing the present system that is largely based on fossil-fuels.

The total share of renewable energy must rise from around 18% of total final energy consumption (in 2015) to around two-thirds by 2050. Over the same period, the share of renewables in the power sector would increase from around one-quarter to 85%, mostly through growth in solar and wind power generation. The energy intensity of the global economy will have to fall by about two-thirds, lowering energy demand in 2050 to slightly less than 2015 levels. This is achievable, despite significant population and economic growth, by substantially improving energy efficiency, the report finds.

 

Source: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Date: June 2018

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