Following the release of a damning report by the United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is essentially another stark reminder for world economies to raise their climate ambition, Wood Mackenzie has stepped into the debate to offer its take on the ground reality of energy demand and where major nations are, in rapidly cutting emissions.
Specifically, Wood Mackenzie’s Asia Pacific Head of Markets and Transitions, Prakash Sharma in his commentary was keen to note that the COVID-19 pandemic reduced energy-related annual Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1.8 Bt in 2020. But this was only a temporary phenomenon said the analyst. As the world recovers from the effects of COVID-19, Sharma said energy demand is already rising quickly and set to reach new highs. In this regard, he said one ought to note that there is not enough renewable capacity to meet energy demand growth. As a result, emissions are going to rise in the near-term, not fall said Sharma.
The WoodMac official said, “Achieving the goal of net zero needs a sustained, collaborative, global effort by society to reduce emissions by 1.2 Bt every year on average for the next three decades. And while many countries have set net zero 2050 targets, no major economy is on track to meet the 45% reduction in annual emissions needed by 2030.”
He continued, “The EU, UK, US and Japan will have to make substantial gains to meet their 2030 target as limited progress has been made in hard-to-abate sectors. China currently emits 35% of global emissions and has only committed to peaking its emissions by 2030. Hence, China’s performance is most crucial in fulfilling global climate goals…”
In Wood Mackenzie’s Accelerated Energy Transition (AET) 1.5-degree scenario, Sharma said the industry consultancy group has mapped where emissions reduction could come from. In this regard he said, “By 2050 nearly 44% of emissions reduction can come from electrification and efficiency gains, 33% from fuel switching and feedstock change, and 23% from carbon removal technologies (CCUS, direct air capture, nature-based solutions).”
The landmark IPCC report which was recently released has concluded that human activity has resulted in an unprecedented expenditure of the planet’s “carbon budget,” 86 percent of it to be exact, thereby leaving humanity in a code red situation. The report categorically states that if crucial action is not taken to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the world can expect increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts, and flooding.
The IPCC’s Working Group I report which focuses on “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis” has been approved by 195 member governments through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks ago starting on July 26.
The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022.
The report is the first major review by the IPCC since 2013 and comes less than three months before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Founded in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has served as the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change and providing political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as putting forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.