World Energy Outlook 2021 – Analysis and key findings. A report by the International Energy Agency.
Solutions to close the gap with a 1.5 °C path are available – and many are highly cost-effective
TheWEO-2021highlights four key measures that can help to close the gap between today’s pledges and a 1.5 °C trajectory over the next ten years – and to underpin further emissions reductions post-2030.More than 40% of the actions required are cost-effective, meaning that they result in overall cost savings to consumers compared with the pathway in the APS. All countries need to do more: those with existing net zero pledges account for about half of the additional reductions, notably China. The four measures are:
A massiveadditional push for clean electrificationthat requires a doubling of solar PV and wind deployment relative to the APS; a major expansion of other low-emissions generation, including the use of nuclear power where acceptable; a huge build-out of electricity infrastructure and all forms of system flexibility, including from hydropower; a rapid phase out of coal; and a drive to expand electricity use for transport and heating. Accelerating the decarbonisation of the electricity mix is the single most important lever available to policy makers: it closes more than one-third of the emissions gap between the APS and NZE. With improved power market designs and other enabling conditions, the low costs of wind and solar PV mean that more than half of the additional emissions reductions could be gained at no cost to electricity consumers.
A relentlessfocus on energy efficiency, together with measures to temper energy service demand through materials efficiency and behavioural change. The energy intensity of the global economy decreases by more than 4% per year between 2020 and 2030 in the NZE – more than double the average rate of the previous decade. Without this improvement in energy intensity, total final energy consumption in the NZE would be about one-third higher in 2030, significantly increasing the cost and difficulty of decarbonising energy supply. We estimate that almost 80% of the additional energy efficiency gains in the NZE over the next decade result in cost savings to consumers.
A broaddrive to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel operations.Rapid reductions in methane emissions are a key tool to limit near-term global warming, and the most cost-effective abatement opportunities are in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas operations. Methane abatement is not addressed quickly or effectively enough by simply reducing fossil fuel use; concerted efforts from governments and industry are vital to secure the emissions cuts that close nearly 15% of the gap to the NZE.
A bigboost to clean energy innovation. This is another crucial gap to be filled in the 2020s, even though most of the impacts on emissions are not felt until later. All the technologies needed to achieve deep emissions cuts to 2030 are available. But almost half of the emissions reductions achieved in the NZE in 2050 come from technologies that today are at the demonstration or prototype stage. These are particularly important to address emissions from iron and steel, cement and other energy-intensive industrial sectors – and also from long-distance transport. Today’s announced pledges fall short of key NZE milestones for the deployment of hydrogen-based and other low-carbon fuels, as well as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).