What is the best way to reach net zero emissions by 2050? The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based oil watchdog, has mapped out a pathway that it says is “narrow but still achievable” if the world is to cut carbon dioxide emissions to nearly zero and limit global warming to 1.5C.
Meeting this goal, which has been adopted by major economies such as the EU, US and UK, would require a total transformation of the global economy over the next three decades.
Under the IEA’s scenario, this would include ending the sale of conventional petrol cars by 2035, reaching 100 per cent clean energy by 2040 and using heat pumps to meet at least half of all heating needs by 2045.
While some industry executives and major energy consuming countries have deemed the pathway out of touch with the reality of current consumption patterns, it showcases the sheer overhaul of the energy system that would be required.
Total energy consumption in 2050 would be less than it is today because of improvements in efficiency, even though the global economy will be 40 per cent larger than it is now.