IEA sets out new energy roadmap for 2050

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its net zero by 2050 roadmap.
The IEA said the world has a viable pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050, but it was narrow and required immediate action across all countries.
Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector was the world’s first comprehensive study to lay out a cost-effective transition to a net zero energy system while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access and enabling robust economic growth.
Building on the IEA’s unrivalled energy modelling tools and expertise, the roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones to guide countries on this global journey.
“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 Fatih Birol, our Executive Director. “The IEA’s pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation.”
The report highlighted that climate pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – were short of what’s required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050.
The IEA’s pathway required the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies. That included annual additions of solar PV to reaching 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power reaching 390 gigawatts. Together, that was four times the record level set in 2020.
Most of the global reductions in CO2 emissions between now and 2030 in the net zero pathway came from technologies already on the market, said the IEA. But in 2050, almost half the reductions would come from technologies that are currently only at the demonstration or prototype phase. This calls for major innovation progress this decade, it added.
Total annual energy investment will surge to $5 trillion by 2030 in the pathway, creating millions of clean energy jobs and putting global GDP 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends.
In the pathway, no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects was needed, nor is further investment for new unabated coal plants, and sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars will be halted by 2035.
By 2050, global energy demand would be 8% smaller than today, but would serve an economy twice as big and a population with 2 billion more people. And almost 90% of electricity generation would come from renewable sources.