Policy

IEA report on ‘Net Zero by 2050’ suggests need to stop oil, gas projects

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on May 18, 2021

Provides insights ahead of COP26 Glasgow meet

The pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050 is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used globally, the International Energy Agency said in a special report released today.

Climate pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, according to the report, ‘Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector’.

The report is a comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050.

“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.

“The IEA’s pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation,” Birol added.

Building on the IEA’s unrivalled energy modelling tools and expertise, the Roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones to guide the global journey to net zero by 2050. These include, from today, 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.

Renewable Push

The pathway calls for annual additions of solar PV to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts. Together, this is four times the record level set in 2020.

Total annual energy investment surges to $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 per cent higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends.

“The pathway laid out in our Roadmap is global in scope, but each country will need to design its own strategy, taking into account its own specific circumstances,” said Dr Birol.

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 Climate Change Framework Convention in Glasgow in November. It was requested as input to the negotiations by the UK government’s COP26 Presidency.

Published on May 18, 2021

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