The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) has announced the world’s first comprehensive study on how to transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050.
And the message to governments around the world is that they need to up their game to achieve that target and slow down the rate of global warming.
With a focus on renewably sourced energy, the study – Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector – sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway to get to a clean energy economy.
It examines the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture, and behavioural changes in reaching net zero in helping the world gets to where it needs to be.
By 2050, the aim is to have almost 90 per cent of electricity generation from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for almost 70 per cent. Most of the remainder comes from nuclear power.
The greatest challenge
“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,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
“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.
“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”.
The roadmap includes a call for an immediate end to all investment in new fossil fuel supplies and states that further investment is needed in the research and development of new technologies.
Progress in the areas of advanced batteries, electrolysers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage could be particularly impactful, it outlines.
“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 sustainably”, Birol added.
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