- IEA’s net zero emissions by 2050 report argues the world has a narrow but very viable pathway to reach net zero emissions in the global energy sector by 2050
- It would require significant uptake of clean energy sources as solar PV and wind energy, growing by 630 GW and 390 GW annually by 2030
- Hydrogen and nuclear power will enable transition to the clean energy sources
- Globally, the world would need to stop investing in new fossil fuel supply projects, starting from today
- Total annual energy investment of the world is expected to reach a total of $5 trillion by 2030 in the net zero pathway
There is a viable pathway for the world to reach a net zero energy sector by 2050, which may also give the world a chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C, though it is ‘narrow’ and requires ‘immediate action’ across all countries, to begin an ‘unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used’, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector report.
And unprecedented it sure seems for IEA since the organization now wants annual solar PV capacity additions growing to 630 GW between 2030 and 2050 to help reach net zero target, and which, according to the IEA, translates into ‘installing the world’s current largest solar park roughly every day’. For wind power, the pathway as recommended in the report is for 390 GW annual capacity addition from 2030 onward.
Rooftop solar that’s installed on around 25 million rooftops currently across the globe, would grow to 100 million rooftops by 2030 and 240 million by 2050. To enable transition to the target, the authors of the report see hydrogen and nuclear stepping in.
Solar will be the world’s single largest source of total energy supply in 2050, said the IEA in the report that sets out more than 400 milestones to guide the global net zero by 2050. It includes no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects starting from today, and no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants.
Among other salient features mentioned in the IEA report are as follows:
- Global rate of energy efficiency improvements to reach an average of 4% annually through 2030
- Electric vehicles (EV) to account for more than 60% of global car sales by 2030, up from around 5% now
- Electricity to account for almost 50% of total energy consumption in 2050 when close to 90% of electricity generation is renewable energy supplied, with wind and solar PV together accounting for around 70% and the remaining share supplied by nuclear power.
- Electricity to be made available to around 785 million people who currently have no access, and clean cooking solutions to 2.6 billion that lack those options.
- Clean energy system will also bring major health benefits by reducing indoor air pollution, bringing down the number of premature deaths by 2.5 million annually.
- Bring in policies to end sales of new internal combustion engine cars by 2035 and boost electrification to ensure massive reduction in transport emissions.
The IEA sees total annual energy investment of the world reaching a total of $5 trillion by 2030 in the net zero pathway, and this jump in private and government spending will create millions of jobs in clean energy, engineering, manufacturing and construction industries.
“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 IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol.
“Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation,” he added.
The report is available for free download on the IEA website.