- The IPCC report is a validation of and encourages further expansion of solar energy in the world as it fights climate change
- IPCC report calls for 100% low-carbon electricity generation for the world by 2050 to meet climate targets
- It wants effective policies, regulations and market instruments to be scaled up and applied more widely and equitably
- Report wants immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, along with policy clarity, and lifestyle and behavioral changes to curb global warming
For the world to reduce its net emissions by 2030, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) counts solar followed by wind energy as offering the highest potential among energy sources, yet argues that low-carbon electricity generation needs to reach by 100% by 2050 for the world to meet stringent climate goals.
Of course, the actual potential will vary across countries and in the longer term compared to 2030, it adds.
Global solar and wind energy sources have seen an accelerated growth led by policy, societal pressure, low interest rates and cost reductions, with both these accounting for 8% of total electricity generation in 2019, according to the IPCC’s latest report titled Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change.
The report calls for urgent action to halve global carbon emissions by 2030, while admitting that current policies, regulations and market instruments are proving effective. “If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.
Report writers point at the sustained decrease of up to 85% in the costs for solar and wind energy and batteries since 2010, yet the deployment of solar PV and wind energy technologies is still below 10%. Instead, some parts of the world continue to invest in coal power capacity.
Even in the transport sector, even though there are positive steps being taken with growing popularity the electric vehicles (EV), their full decarbonization will be possible when these are charged with zero carbon electricity. At the same time, car production, shipping, aviation and supply chains should be decarbonized to bring down emissions in this sector.
It calls for major transitions in the energy sector in terms of infrastructure, policies and technology along with lifestyles and behavior which can bring down GHG emissions by 40% to 70% by 2050.
Even in the industrial sector, the scientists see net zero CO2 emissions as a possibility even though a challenge to achieve it. This can be done with the help of new production processes using low and zero GHG electricity, hydrogen, fuels and carbon management.
The report also offers hope saying if global GHG emissions peak before 2025 at the latest and reduced by 43% by 2030, along with methane share lowered by about 1/3rd, the world stands a chance to ‘temporarily’ exceed the 1.5°C threshold but return to below it by the end of the century.
To aid in reaching these targets, the report recommends closing investment gaps for which there is sufficient global capital and liquidity, but needs ‘clear signaling’ from governments and international community. Electrification with renewables and shifts in public transport can enhance health, employment and equity, it reads.
To sum up, IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea warned, “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”
The report can be accessed for free on IPCC’s website.