The new WEO released last week comes a month earlier than usual. This is because it aims to become a benchmark for the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26), providing a final and decisive opportunity for governments to accelerate their climate action. And because the IEA wants this analysis to be widely available ahead of the summit, this year’s WEO is available online for free around the world.
new world energy economy
The report provides a detailed picture of how far and how countries have made their transition to clean energy, and how far they have to go. Their conclusion is that a new global energy economy is emerging, but also that it must take shape more quickly to avoid the severe effects of a changing climate.
The scenario, based on current Policies to Curb Global Warming (STEPS), suggests that fossil fuel demand slows to a plateau in the 2030s and then declines slightly in 2050. In addition, almost all of the net increase in energy demanded comes from lower emissions. Source. But these actions are completely inadequate: in this scenario the increase in global mean temperature is greater than 1.5 °C around 2030 and will continue to rise until reaching 2.6 °C in 2100.
In a scenario based on declared commitments (APS) of net zero emissions and improved national contribution, the IEA says that if these commitments are fully implemented, the temperature rise for the year will remain at around 2.1 °C. . And oil demand will peak shortly after 2025. In this scenario, emissions are expected to drop by about a third in advanced economies by 2030, but by more than 10% in emerging and developing markets, resulting in a two-speed world.
A world, the report’s authors warn, “has a narrow focus on achieving national zero-emissions commitments in some countries, with limited efforts to prioritize emissions reductions in others, and little attention.” Is. Technological overflow or possibilities are noticed. Working in union”. Achieving “the relative safety of net zero emissions in 2050” depends, to a large extent, on “all governments acting effectively and mutually beneficial”. I
In the Zero Net Emissions (NZE) scenario, all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as methane, are sharply reduced, except for CO2. The increase in temperature only exceeds 1.5 °C around 2050. Thereafter, temperatures gradually begin to drop as a result of a continued reduction in non-CO2 emissions, and by 2100 the temperature rise has dropped to approximately 1.4 °C.
Previously, in the Sustainable Development (SDS) scenario, CO emissions fell to zero around 2070 and the rest decreased rapidly. The 1.5 °C level is exceeded in the early 2030s and temperatures have peaked below 1.7 °C around 2050, so the scenario is “an increase in the global mean temperature below 2 °C”. keep” target. But only the NZE scenario is in line with the Paris Agreement goal of “continuing efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 °C”.
From the IEA they emphasize that to make this achievement possible, it is necessary to work in four key areas: a massive push for clean electrification; Focusing on energy efficiency to realize its full potential; Unifying efforts to prevent leakage from fossil fuel operations; and promoting innovation in clean energy.
Consequences for ecosystems and human well-being
The report recalls that these different scenarios have very different impacts on global ecosystems and human well-being. The greater the increase in temperature, the greater the risk of severe weather events such as extreme heat, drought, river and coastal flooding and crop failure. In fact, over the past decade, extreme heat events have occurred almost three times more frequently than in pre-industrial times, with an average temperature increase of 1.1 °C above pre-industrial levels.
According to WEO2021, the Current Policy-Based Scenario (STEPS) will see a 100% increase in the frequency of extreme heat events around 2050 and will be about 120% more intense than today; There will also be a 40% increase in ecological drought, which will be almost 100% more intense. In a zero net emissions (NZE) scenario, the increase in the frequency of extreme heat events would be low, by about 45%, and ecological drought would be 20% less.
In 2100, as the temperature trajectories of landscapes diverge, the difference in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will be even more marked. In the STEP scenario, the temperature increase could exceed 3.5 °C by the end of the century. This would increase the frequency of ecological droughts by 80–130% and their intensity would be between doubling and tripling. The rain will also be twice as intense as it is now and will be three to four times more intense. The risk of ice sheet collapse and disruption of ocean currents would also be substantially higher. This, in turn, could bring about irreversible changes to the permafrost, boreal forest and Amazon rainforest, further accelerating global warming and all its effects.
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