The path to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C has narrowed, but clean energy growth is keeping it open. The update of the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s landmark Net Zero Roadmap shows that greater ambition and implementation, supported by stronger international cooperation, will be critical to reach climate change mitigation goals.
Driving greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s energy sector to net zero and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C remains extremely challenging but possible due to the record growth of key clean energy technologies, though momentum needs to increase rapidly in many areas, according to the updated Roadmap.
The new Roadmap sets out a global pathway to keep the 1.5 °C goal in reach, providing a comprehensive update to the groundbreaking original report that was published in 2021 and has served as an essential benchmark for policy makers, industry, and the financial sector, among others. The 2023 Update incorporates the significant changes to the energy landscape in the past two years, including the post-pandemic economic recovery and the extraordinary growth in some clean energy technologies – but also increased investment in fossil fuels and stubbornly high GHG emissions.
Craig Menzies, Senior Project Manager at Global Factor, stated: “It’s a powerful study, and the author, IEA, is undoubtedly a relevant authority. Additionally, the study reflects the significant changes in critical background conditions and context, as experienced over the past two years. In this regard, it’s important to highlight that the optimal decarbonization pathway for the energy sector is by no means a closed matter.”
Since 2021, record growth in solar power capacity and electric car sales are in line with a pathway towards net zero emissions globally by mid-century, as are industry plans for the roll-out of new manufacturing capacity for them. This is significant, since those two technologies alone deliver one-third of the emissions reductions between today and 2030 in the pathway. Clean energy innovation has also been delivering more options and lowering technology costs. In the IEA’s original Roadmap in 2021, technologies not yet available on the market delivered nearly half of the emissions reductions needed for net zero in 2050. That number has now fallen to around 35% in this year’s update.
Yet bolder action is necessary this decade. In the updated Net Zero Roadmap and pathway, global renewable power capacity triples in the period to 2030, representing a seismic shift in the scale of investments and project commissioning rates. Meanwhile, the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements doubles, sales of electric vehicles and heat pumps rise sharply, and energy sector methane emissions fall by 75%. These strategies, which are based on proven and often cost-effective technologies for lowering emissions, together deliver more than 80% of the reductions needed by the end of the current decade.
“Keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires the world to come together quickly. The good news is we know what we need to do – and how to do it. Our 2023 Net Zero Roadmap, based on the latest data and analysis, shows a path forward,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “But we also have a very clear message: Strong international cooperation is crucial to success. Governments need to separate climate from geopolitics, given the scale of the challenge at hand.”
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Source: Global Factor
Global Factor is an international group with 19 years of experience, specialised in offering global, original, and innovative solutions in the fields of climate change adaptation and mitigation, carbon footprint, sustainability, circular economy, renewable energies, climate neutrality and carbon markets. Global Factor has an interdisciplinary team with a presence in 8 countries and has participated in more than 2,000 projects for more than 700 public and private clients, international organisations and non-profit entities in 51 different countries.