In late 2022, the IEA released the Global Energy and climate model to demonstrate how far behind the curve we currently were across all metrics in achieving a Net Zero energy future.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has developed a scenario called the "Stated Policies Scenario" (STEPS), which estimates the progress of countries' current energy policies towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
The STEPS scenario shows that current policies will lead to a decline in energy-related CO2 emissions of around 8% by 2030, compared to the levels in 2019. However, to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, emissions would need to decline by around 65% by 2030.
Globally, investment in renewable energy needs to reach $1.5 trillion every year in addition to what is currently being invested up to 2050 to ensure a renewable energy future.
Delving into the International Energy Agency's latest report "Energy Technology Perspectives 2023", the leading 6 solutions for the energy transition and emissions reductions are as one might already be accustomed to seeing in these reports:
Renewable Energy infrastructure
Energy Efficiency measures
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Hydrogen as fuel replacement and storage
Nuclear energy as baseload electricity generation
All these solutions executed in unison have the potential to reduce fossil fuel emissions and lead us to Net Zero emissions before the year 2050.
However, The Report outlines several key challenges to achieving the goal of net-zero emissions before 2050. Some of the main challenges noted are:
Cost: The cost of low-carbon technologies, such as renewable energy and hydrogen, still need to decrease further to be competitive with fossil fuels, particularly in sectors such as heavy industry and long-distance transport where other options are not yet economically viable.
Scale: The deployment of low-carbon technologies at the necessary scale to achieve net-zero emissions will require significant investments in infrastructure and technology, as well as supportive policies and regulations.
Integration: The integration of variable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, into the grid and the development of flexible power systems will be necessary to ensure a reliable and stable power supply.
Storage: The development of low-cost and high-performance energy storage solutions is necessary to enable the integration of variable renewable energy sources and to support the growth of electric vehicles and other electrified sectors.
Sector integration: Reducing emissions in sectors such as industry, buildings, and transport will require a combination of multiple technologies and policy measures, and will also require the active participation of all stakeholders.
Research, development and demonstration: Continued research, development, and demonstration of new technologies will be necessary to improve their performance and reduce costs, and to continue to identify new opportunities for emissions reductions.
International cooperation: Achieving net-zero emissions will require international cooperation on technology development, deployment and the creation of a level playing field for low-carbon technologies.
Overall, the report highlights the need for a comprehensive and coordinated approach that involves multiple sectors and stakeholders to overcome these challenges and achieve net-zero emissions before 2050.