How to Halve CO2 Emissions by 2050
Halving CO2 emissions by 2050 will cost $2 trillion a year — about 1 percent of the world’s GDP in 2050 — and can be accomplished using a broad range of low-carbon technologies implemented across several sectors of the economy including power, industry, buildings and transport, says a report from Imperial College London.
Global CO2 emissions are likely to increase to around 50 giga-tonnes per year by 2050, and the global use of fossil fuels will increase by 50 percent compared to current levels, according to Halving Global CO2 by 2050: Technologies and Costs.
In the report, researchers outline which technologies and interventions are required to limit these global CO2 emissions to 15 giga-tonnes per year by 2050, a level that scientists say could help to limit global warming to around 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They say the $2 trillion per year price tag could be “considerably less” if fossil fuel prices increase in the future.
The report also says industrial manufacturing processes, building heating systems and transport must become increasingly powered by low-carbon electricity, and that all sectors must redouble efforts to become energy efficient.
Other key findings include:
- Renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage will play a central role in making the electricity sector nearly carbon neutral.
- Emissions from the industry, buildings and transport sectors will be reduced through increased electrification, programs to improve energy efficiency and replacing fossil fuels with biofuels.
- It will be possible to achieve a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency by end users by 2050.
- Fossil fuel demand must be reduced by almost 40 percent in 2050, compared to current consumption.
Global warming is “unequivocal,” according to a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on Friday. Each of the last three decades has been warmer at the Earth’s surface than any previous decade since 1850, according to the report. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was “likely” the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.
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