The special report offers the "world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth".
The report was requested as input to the UNFCCC COP 26 negotiations by the incoming COP presidency, the UK government.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a special report that charts a pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050. Titled ‘Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,’ IEA cautions that the road “is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used globally.”
The report offers the “world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.” The roadmap provided by the report includes over 400 milestones to guide the path toward net-zero global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050.
Among the steps identified in the Roadmap are:
- From today, halt all investment in new fossil fuel supply projects and make no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants;
- By 2035, sell no new internal combustion engine passenger cars; and
- By 2040, achieve net-zero emissions in the global electricity sector.
The report indicates that a net-zero pathway requires annual additions of solar PV to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030 and of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts. These levels would be four times the level in 2020. The report also underlines that a major push to increase energy efficiency is essential.
The report suggests most of the global reductions in CO2 emissions between now and 2030 will come from currently-available technologies. In 2050, however, almost half the reductions will come from technologies that are at the demonstration or prototype phase now, and IEA’s report recommends that governments increase and reprioritize research and development spending and put them at the core of energy and climate policy. In this regard, the IEA report highlights areas that could be particularly helpful, such as: advanced batteries, electrolyzers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture, and behavioral changes for reaching net zero.
The special report was requested as input to the negotiations at the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC – the Glasgow Climate Change Conference – by the incoming COP presidency, the UK government. [IEA Press Release] [Publication: Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector]