Emissions & Environment, Energy Storage, Renewables

Energy transition too slow to limit global warming says report

DNV GL has released a report that finds that the energy transition is gathering pace more quickly than previously thought, but the rate is still too slow to limit global temperatures rising by well below 2°C as set out in the Paris Agreement.

According to the latest Energy Transition Outlook: Power Supply and Use report, the energy transition requires more than 10 times solar and five times wind power in combination with other technology measures to limit global warming sufficiently.

At the projected pace, DNV GL’s forecast indicates a world that is most likely to be 2.4°C warmer at the end of this century than in the immediate pre-industrial period. The technology already exists to curb emissions enough to hit the climate target however, the challenge lies in a lack of far-reaching policy decisions.

Despite this rapid pace, the energy transition is not fast enough. DNV GL’s forecast indicates that, alarmingly, for a 1.5°C warming limit, the remaining carbon budget will be exhausted as early as 2028, with an overshoot of 770 Gt CO2 in 2050.

DNV GL recommends several technology measures be put in place to help close the emissions gap, in order to limit global warming as per the Paris Agreement. These include the growth of solar, green hydrogen, efficiency improvements and increased use of battery storage. Click here for more on these measures.

Further to the staggering pace of the energy transition, the report forecasts that by 2050 power generation from solar photovoltaic and wind energy will be 36,000 TWh per year, more than 20 times today’s output.

Globally, renewable energy will provide almost 80 per cent of the world’s electricity by 2050 according to the report. Electrification will see increasing use of heat pumps, electric arc furnaces and an electric vehicle revolution, with 50 per cent of all new cars sold in 2032 being electric vehicles.

Gas and variable renewables will be the only energy sources for which demand is higher in 2050 than today. However, they must work together alongside greater uptake of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to secure a rapid energy transition, according to a new forecast of the energy transition by DNV GL.

Global oil demand will peak in the mid-2020s and gas demand will keep rising to 2033. Gas demand will then plateau, and the fuel will remain dominant until the end of the forecast period in 2050, when it will account for over 29 per cent of the world’s energy supply.

DNV GL Energy chief executive Ditlev Engel said: “Our research shows that technology has the power to close the emissions gap and create a clean energy future. But time is against us. Those technology measures can only be successful if they are supported by extraordinary policy action. We are calling for government policies to expand and adapt power grids to accommodate the rise of renewables, economic stimulus for energy efficiency measures and regulatory reform to accelerate the electrification of transport.”

“Governments, businesses and society as a whole need to change the prevailing mindset from ‘business-as-usual’ to ‘business-as-unusual’ to fast-track the energy transition.”